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Police to patrol May Day in Helsinki

Police are reminding residents not to gather on the streets or in parks for May Day festivities on Thursday and Friday.

Henkilö katselee vanhoja vappukuvia tietokoneelta vapputunnelmissa virtuaali vappuna 2020. Vappuna tulee pysytellä kotona koronaviruksen leviämisen ehkäisemiseksi.
Police are urging people to stay at home and celebrate May Day online - not outdoors. Image: Jussi Nukari/ Lehtikuva

Owing to the coronavirus epidemic, traditional May Day "Vappu" celebrations such as speeches, parties and parades have been cancelled throughout Finland.

Police will be monitoring streets and parks with more visible patrols than usual to ensure that people are not out and about.

Helsinki police chief Jarmo Heinonen told Yle that people should not get together on streets or in parks.

“Everyone must take responsibility and parents should remind children and youth that they’re not allowed to gather in big groups in public places,” said Heinonen.

Heinonen also stressed that if people meet in small groups, those can quickly turn into larger groups, which is not conducive to social distancing in the time of the coronavirus.

“There’s no reason to go to the Esplanade park, the Havis Amanda statue, or Kaivopuisto park,” said Heinonen. All three are traditional gathering places for May Day festivities.

Last year in Kaivopuisto park tens of thousands of party-goers gathered together to celebrate May Day.

On Monday, Helsinki’s Havis Amanda statue, known as Manta, was fenced off. The statue is the annual centrepiece for May Day celebrations in the city, culminating in an elaborate ceremony where university students place a cap on the statue’s head.

More details about this year's online festivities can be found here: Finland prepares for a virtual Vappu

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