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VR to sell masks, hand sanitiser to passengers

State railways VR says it is not requiring passengers to wear face masks.

Juna Mikkelin asemalla
Face masks and sanitizer will soon be available for purchase onboard VR trains. Image: Inka Hannonen / Yle

Finland’s state railway firm, VR, says passengers will soon be able to buy masks on trains but will not be required to wear them.

Finland has not followed in the footsteps of some other countries making face masks mandatory on public transport. In fact, this week a report by a government-appointed working group found that masks provide little benefit.

However earlier this month state-owned airline Finnair said its crew and passengers would be expected to wear face coverings. And while VR said it is not expecting passengers to cover up, the company told Yle it plans to begin selling face masks and hand sanitizer onboard trains.

"In the coming weeks hand sanitizer and face masks will be available for purchase onboard trains," said VR Group CEO Rolf Jansson. "We don’t have a rule forcing people to wear them, but they can if they want to."

He said a VR customer survey indicated that only 17 percent of respondents believed masks were necessary.

According to Jansson, the algorithm assigning train seats is programmed to maximise distance between travellers.

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