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Wednesday's papers: Covid concentrated, pandemic fashion, new bike rules and a hot summer

Domestic news outlets explore coronavirus beyond the capital, retailers' uphill battle and mandatory gear for cyclists.

Paljon uima-asuisia ihmisiä hiekkarannalla ja rantavedessä.
This summer in Finland could be warmer than average, meteorologists predict. Image: Anniina Wallius / Yle

Opening up the Uusimaa border has not significantly increased the number of coronavirus infections in other parts of Finland, reports Helsingin Sanomat, citing local news conglomerate Uutissuomalainen.

The epidemic is, however, growing twice as fast in Uusimaa as compared to neighbouring regions. Tests show a 60-percent increase in the prevalence of the virus now over mid-April.

The government lifted restrictions on travel to and from Helsinki's Uusimaa region on 15 April after a three-week border closure.

The death of the department store

Like in other parts of the world, the pandemic is altering the retail landscape.

Who needs new clothes or shoes when staying home? asks Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet. This spring has been catastrophic for clothing retailers in Finland, according to HBL.

The pandemic is acting as a catalyst for changes already underway as consumers shift to shopping online.

Last week Swedish retail chain Brothers shuttered 12 stores in Finland. The Aleksi 13 department store closed its doors in February, and in March the 160-year-old Stockmann filed for corporate restructuring.

"Simply put, there has been excess supply for a long time. This type of market distortion forces the weakest players out," explained Vesa Luhtanen, head of Luhta Sportswear Company.

Figures from the Finnish Fashion and Sports Commerce Association show a 50 percent drop in retail sales in March--a trend expected to continue in April.

Bike lights and white nights

Tail lights will soon become mandatory for cyclists riding in poor visibility as new traffic rules come into force.

Bikers riding in the dark are expected to light up their backsides by 1 June, reports business magazine Talouselämä.

However Jussi Pohjonen of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) told TE that cyclists could also attach the light their helmet or backpack.

Sweltering in quarantine?

The upcoming summer will be warm, reports Ilta-Sanomat. The newsstand tabloid suggests that summer weather will follow on Finland’s unseasonably mild winter.

Weather stations around the world say recent patterns indicate that 2020 is on track to being warmer than average, reports IS.

However changes to Finland's current chilly conditions aren't expected until after this week's Vappu holiday.

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