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Current recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in the active spreading phase in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. More information on the community transmission 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.

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

Most restrictions and recommendations are in effect at least until 30.4.2021. 


On this page:


Face masks are recommended for all persons aged 12 and above in the following situations:

  • NEW: As of 13 March, it will be compulsory to wear a face mask on Helsinki region public transport. Persons who cannot wear a face mask for health-related reasons are exempted from the requirement.
  • At public events and in public spaces, such as shops and banks
  • For everyone who is not working remotely, masks should be worn at work in all of your encounters with others and when moving about the workplace. This recommendation applies to jobs in both the public and private sector.
  • When using municipal services, such as social and health care services
  • When visiting the library and using library services (does not apply, if health-related reasons prevent mask use)
  • At sports and cultural events
  • On all recreational premises
  • In upper secondary and tertiary education, which includes general upper secondary schools, vocational education and institutes of higher education
  • In lower secondary schools (grades 7-9). Cities of the region will provide masks for this purpose.
  • When parents drop off and pick up their children at daycare or pre-primary education 
  • Daycare centre staff should wear masks indoors whenever possible. Early childhood education employees who travel to several locations in their work are in particular asked to observe the mask recommendation.
  • Social and health care staff in patient and customer contact should wear a mask
  • 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 recommendations

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Actual maintenance of distances at public premises, temporary section 58(d) of Communicable Diseases Act

Private and public operators are obliged to arrange the use of premises that are open to the public or intended for a limited group of customers or participants in such a way that the customers, activity participants and groups can feasibly avoid close contact. The operator may fulfil its obligations by restricting the number of customers, by rearranging the customer seats or facilities or in another manner that considers the special characteristics of the operations. The decision applies to almost all private and public customer premises, with the exclusion of restaurant premises. If it is impossible to avoid contact, the entire customer premises can be completely closed by decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality.

The restriction concerns indoor premises in which more than 10 customers or participants are present simultaneously as well as territorially limited outdoor premises used for purposes involving the simultaneous presence of more than 50 customers or participants.

The restriction will be valid between 25 February and 30 April 2021. The decision was made by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland.

Facilities to be closed throughout the Uusimaa region until 28 April

The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland has ordered a variety of facilities used for sports, exercise, leisure and recreational purposes to be closed in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in accordance with Section 58(g) of the Communicable Diseases Act. The closure decision applies widely to the following types of facilities and premises of public and private sector operators:

  • indoor facilities used for team and group sports, contact sports and similar sports or physical exercise, as well as gyms and other similar indoor sports facilities
  • public saunas and swimming halls, outdoor swimming pools, pool facilities at spas and the dressing rooms in their immediate connection
  • dance facilities and facilities used for choir singing, amateur theatre and other similar recreational group activities
  • amusement and theme parks, fairs (circuses) and indoor facilities of zoos
  • indoor playparks and similar premises
  • public lounges at shopping centres, with the exception of retail business premises, premises used for providing services and the access routes to these.

Furthermore, premises designated for closure may still be used for guided leisure activities aimed at children born in 2008 and later. The closure decision does not apply to professional sports or activities that regarded as parts of private and family life.

The restriction is valid 1.-28.4.2021.

Recreational activities

The indoor and outdoor premises of the cities can only be used for guided recreational activities of children born 2008 or later.

All forms of activities for children and young people must be implemented without close contacts. Leisure activities must comply with the following principles:

  • The number of participants in the group must be regulated and based on pre-registration. Facilities will only be opened for times that have already been booked. The facilities will not be open for public use.
  • All activities must observe the safety guidelines that have been issued by the authorities – and in the case of sports, those issued by the Olympic Committee – on social distancing, hand hygiene, and the use of face masks.
  • Coaches and participants over 12 years of age must wear masks, unless a health reason prevents their use. Masks must be worn at all times, not just during practice.
  • The activities should arranged in a way that avoids or considerably reduces close contact.
  • Group sizes should be scaled down to ensure that the participants are able to maintain a safe distance from others. Several groups can be active at the same time in spaces that are large enough, as long as contact between the groups is prohibited.
  • The organiser of the activity is responsible for determining the proper group sizes and ensuring that all other safety guidelines are observed.
  • The use of changing and washing rooms should be limited to essential use only.
  • People who are dropping off and picking up activity participants – parents or guardians, for example – may not enter the facilities. Exceptions can be made in some cases for children who are under school age.

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa continue to strongly encourage private operators to observe these same recommendations and restrictions in their arrangement of leisure activities for minors.

The restriction will be valid until 30 April 2021.

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.

All those working on location at public and private sector workplaces are recommended to wear a face mask while indoors at the workplace and in the presence of other persons. This recommendation entered into force on 23 November. Persons who cannot wear a face mask for health-related reasons will not be required to wear a mask. The affected persons will not be required to provide a medical certificate or other proof.

The recommendation is in place until 30 April 2021.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

Since Helsinki has entered the spreading phase of the coronavirus epidemic, restrictions must be applied on visitations. The aim of the restrictions is to protect patients, residents and personnel from coronavirus infections.

Members of the immediate family can begin visiting hospitalised patients again starting from 22 February. The recommended maximum duration of a visit is 15 minutes, and all visitors must adhere to the effective protection instructions during the visits. Patients can be visited by one person per day. The visits must be agreed upon with the staff in advance.

Residents of senior centres, assisted living facilities and nursing homes may be visited by their relatives and close friends once a day. Only one visitor is allowed at a time. Two visitors at a time are allowed for outdoor visits. As of 22 February, an indoor or outdoor visit may last up to an hour.

All visits must be agreed on in advance with the care facility of the relative, and face masks must be used during the visits. You only may pay a visit when you are well. Safe distances and good hand hygiene must be ensured.

The restictions are in place until 30 April 2021.

Service centres for pensioners and the unemployed closed

City of Helsinki service centres for pensioners and the unemployed will stay closed. The possibility of opening the service centres will be reassessed in April.

The restictions are in place until 30 April 2021.

Day activities for the elderly suspended

Day activities for the elderly have been temporarily suspended. Day activity clients will be contacted in person about this suspension.

The restictions are in place until 30 April 2021.

New regulations regarding customer premises

The following must be arranged at all public and private customer facilities:

  • The possibility to clean one’s hands either by washing or with sanitizer
  • Sufficient hygiene instructions on display
  • Possible customer seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and there must be generally be as much space as possible
  • The cleaning of facilities and surfaces must be enhanced

The regulations will be in effect until 30 June 2021.

Public premises

All public customer spaces will remain closed throughout March with the exception of the guided recreational activity time slots reserved for children aged 12 or less. This includes all municipal cultural centres, museums and youth facilities. Contact teaching at the adult education centres has been suspended in favour of distance learning in November.

The facilities used for providing health care and social services, early childhood education, comprehensive education and essential upper secondary education will remain open. Services such as the essential use of customer computers in libraries and the distribution of face masks to those in need will continue. The cities have defined the facilities offering essential services, which will be kept open to a limited extent and with due consideration to health and safety. Libraries will continue to offer limited services.

Limited services will be available at the libraries, including the following:

  • Picking up materials from the reservations shelves and select themed shelves by the self-service machines 
  • Essential and quick use of the customer computers
  • The primary service methods are advance reservations and self-service via the machines
  • If necessary, assistance and guidance will be provided at the service desk
  • Wearing a mask is obligatory when using the services (does not apply, if health-related reasons prevent it)

The restictions are in place until 30 April 2021.

Restrictions on restaurant opening hours, serving times and customer capacity

Restaurants will be closed until 18 April 2021. However, customers will still be able order and pick up takeaway food. Cafés and restaurants can also deliver orders to customers independently or through a service provider. Staff restaurants and cafeterias that are not open to the public may remain open.

The restriction is valid 9 March  18 April 2021.

Public events

All indoor and outdoor public events and meetings will be prohibited for a fixed period. However, absolutely indispensable public events and meetings with at most 6 persons may be arranged, if their safety can be guaranteed in compliance with the instructions issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL on 21.9.2020.

The restictions are in place until 30 April 2021.

Private events

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group has strongly advised everyone to limit their close contacts to members of the same household or those considered as close as household members. Other kinds of private gatherings or meetings with extended family are not recommended.  Guests at a funeral or a memorial service should be restricted to only a small group of close relatives.

The recommendation is in place until 30 April 2021.

Travel

National travel recommendations and restrictions are in effect, meaning that everyone should avoid 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

The recommendations and restrictions are in place until further notice.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki we hope that you either

  1. present proof of having had COVID-19 within the last six months, 
  2. present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (tested within the last 72 hours), or 
  3. indicate that you have booked an appointment for a coronavirus test through the Finentry application

While onboard during your trip, please fill in the symptom questionnaire and personal information form in advance and, where possible, prepare to present a passport or ID card at the testing and information point. 

Request the symptom questionnaire and personal information form from the ship staff. The testing and information points are located in the terminal and by the car lane. 

Coronavirus testing in Finland

We recommend a self-imposed 14-day quarantine to all people arriving in Finland. You can shorten your self-imposed quarantine by getting tested for coronavirus twice. 

If you do not have any of the certificates mentioned above, you will be guided to take your first coronavirus test in the harbour. The second test can be taken at the earliest 72 hours after the first one. 

If you do not seek out your first coronavirus test in the harbour, please do so within 24 hours in your place of stay or residence.    

To protect others, you must continue your voluntary quarantine until both test results are ready and have been proven negative. 

In conjunction with the test, you will be informed about how to proceed.  

If your stay in In Finland lasts less than 72 hours

  • and you do have one of the above certificates, you do not have to seek out coronavirus testing in Finland. 
  • and you do not have any of the above certificates, you must submit to self-imposed quarantine. 

More information is available from the coronavirus information point at the port: www.thl.fi.

Upper comprehensive schools transition to contact teaching step by step

Upper comprehensive schools switched to a rotation model on 12 April 2021. The different grades will alternate in remote and classroom education. The group sizes will be adjusted in order to maintain safe distances.

Upper secondary education moves to contact teaching step by step

The remote teaching arrangement will be in effect until the middle of April.

Upper secondary schools will continue with remote education until the end of the fourth quarter (roughly mid-April), following which they will transition to a rotation model. This involves half of the students attending remote teaching at any one time.

The fact that third-year high-school students have already completed their studies has been taken into account. The group sizes will be adjusted in order to maintain safe distances.

Vocational institutions will continue remote education until the middle of April. After this, vocational education will transition to a rotation model wherein a third of the students are in contact teaching at any one time. The group sizes will be adjusted in order to maintain safe distances.

Safety in education, other 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 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.

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Face mask recommendation for comprehensive education personnel

All personnel of comprehensive schools are recommended must wear a face mask at work. Adherence to the mask recommendation helps ensure the continuation of classroom education and reduces exposures on school premises. This  recommendation entered into force on 11 November 2020.

THL: Children and coronavirus

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Mask recommendation extends to sixth graders

The face mask recommendation in basic education was extended to sixth graders as of 13 January 2021, in accordance with recommendations from THL. The children are requested to comply with the recommendation, unless a medical reason prevents this. The students will be shown in school how to wear a face mask safely. Sixth graders in Helsinki will receive free face masks from the schools, but they can also use their own masks. This recommendation will remain valid until further notice.

The recommendation is in place until further notice.


More on the topic:

Coronavirus updates from Helsinki

HUS: Regional situation in the coronavirus epidemic and issued recommendations

Restrictions during the coronavirus epidemic


Description of the community transmission phase of the coronavirus epidemic

Infections spread among the population regionally or more extensively: one-week incidence is more than 12–25 cases per 100,000 residents, and in two weeks more than 18–50 cases per 100,000 residents. Source: THL

  • The daily growth rate in cases is more than 10 percent.
  • More than 2 percent of tests are positive.
  • Fewer than half of the sources of infection can be traced.
  • The need for hospital care and intensive care grows fast.


13.04.2021 12:06