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Recommendations and restrictions effective in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in an acceleration phase in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. More information on the acceleration phase criteria is provided at the end of this page.

This compilation presents the recommendations and restrictions currently in effect in Helsinki with regard to the coronavirus crisis. Among other things, the information covers face mask recommendations, restaurants and bars, travel, public spaces, gatherings, day care centres and schools.

In addition, various city divisions have issued special recommendations and communicated about them in the context of the relevant services.

Face mask recommendation for all persons aged 15 and above

  • Public transport
  • Public events and spaces, such as shops and banks
  • City services, such as libraries, social and health care services, and cultural services.
  • At sports and cultural events
  • Upper secondary and tertiary education, including general upper secondary schools, vocational education and institutes of higher education
  • Parents visiting early education premises when dropping off and picking up their children, for example
  • Social and health care staff in patient and customer contact
  • In all other workplaces when safe distances, rotated room usage or other hygiene and safety arrangements are not possible
  • In transit to a coronavirus tests and during the wait for results, if leaving the home cannot be avoided
  • When arriving in Finland from a risk area and travelling from the arrival point to quarantine, or if it is necessary to leave home during quarantine
  • In other situations where it is not possible to avoid close contact
  • More information: Face mask recommendation

Remote work

Working from home is recommended for all tasks that can be carried out remotely. Furthermore, work arrangements that can reduce close contact and other risk factors in workplaces must be promoted.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

If possible, it is best to meet with patients and customers of care facilities outdoors. There is a limit on the number of people that can make indoor visits. Meetings in common areas are not allowed. All visits must be arranged in advance. Face masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene must be observed during visits. More detailed information on the visitor practices of different facilities can be found on the individual websites.

Service centres

Service centres intended for pensioners and unemployed persons will remain closed at least until the end of 2020. The situation will be reassessed at the end of the year.

Restrictions on the opening hours, serving hours and customer capacities of restaurants

  • Starting on 11 October, restaurants and bars can be open from 4 am to 11 pm and alcohol can be served from 9 am to 10 pm. This restriction is valid until the end of October 2020.
  • Starting on 11 October, however, customer capacity must be cut by 50%, i.e. only half of the seats can be filled.
  • In addition to this, hygiene facilities, such as hand washing stations, must be made available and restaurants and bar staff must ensure that customers observe social distancing in indoor areas and queues.

According to the operating model deployed in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the operations of an individual restaurant can be restricted in cases where the restaurant in question does not observe the applicable recommendations and restrictions or cannot otherwise ensure safe conditions. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland is responsible for making such decisions.

Finnish Government: Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic

Public events

The guidelines issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Culture on safe distances and hygiene practices must be observed in the context of public events and gatherings of more than 20 people. The guidelines will be in effect 19.10.–30.11.2020.

Organisers can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.

THL: The recommendations related to public spaces and gatherings

Sports and cultural events

Organisers of sports and cultural events are strongly encouraged to recommend face mask usage for event participants.

Organisers of private events can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.

The City of Helsinki: Coronavirus-related instructions for event organisers (in Finnish)

Private events

Caution and restraint is called for, and the postponement or cancellation of private meetings of more than 20 persons is recommended. The recommendation concerns also student events, graduation parties in the autumn and Christmas festivities.

Organisers can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.


National travel recommendations and restrictions are in effect, such as avoiding nonessential travel to countries other than those for which travel restrictions have been lifted. Domestic travel is permitted, provided that health and safety instructions related to the coronavirus are observed. Avoid all travel when ill.

Finnish Government: Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic

Safety recommendations in education, and extraordinary teaching arrangements

Safety recommendations from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) are observed in early childhood education and basic education.

Primary and secondary schools in the city must stagger starting times and lunches, in addition to ensuring safe distances and the practice of good hand hygiene. In the event that a coronavirus infection is discovered in an early education establishment, school or other educational institute, those exposed will be traced and quarantined. Remote teaching must be arranged for all of the students who have been judged to be exposed. Decisions on quarantine are made by physicians specialising in infectious diseases.

If it becomes challenging to organise basic education as the epidemic escalates, for example, if several staff members are placed in quarantine, the school will transition to special teaching arrangements that would introduce distance learning for multiple classes. Decisions of this nature will be made by the head of the City of Helsinki’s Education Division. The decision requires an assessment from a health authority that indicates the necessity of extraordinary teaching arrangements.

THL: Children and coronavirus

More on the topic:

Helsinki – coronavirus updates

HUS: Regional situation in the coronavirus epidemic and issued recommendations

Restrictions during the coronavirus epidemic

Description of the acceleration phase of the coronavirus epidemic

  • Increase in the regional incidence of infections: The 7-day case total is > 6–15/100,000 residents, while the 14-day total is > 10–25/100,000 residents
  • Proportion of positive test results is > 1%
  • Periodic local and regional infection chains occurs
  • Infection sources can primarily be traced
  • Demand for hospital treatment can be met without special measures
  • Source: THL

23.10.2020 06:28