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Current recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in the community transmission phase in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. This compilation presents the recommendations and restrictions currently in effect in Helsinki. In addition, various city divisions have issued special recommendations and communicated about them in the context of the relevant services.


On this page:


Recommendations for the use of face masks

The recommendations are valid until further notice and apply to everyone aged 12 and over.

Recommendation for people without full vaccination protection

  • The use of a mask is always recommended in public indoor areas if the person is not fully vaccinated or has not contracted COVID-19 less than six months previously.

Recommendation for people getting tested for COVID-19 and waiting for the results

  • The mask should always be worn on the way to the coronavirus test and while waiting for the test results if there is a necessary reason to go outside the home.

Recommendation on the use of face masks for the whole population regardless of vaccine protection

  • in public transport.
  • People over 12 years old are obligated to wear a face mask on transport in the Helsinki Region. The only exceptions to the mask requirement are for people who cannot wear a face mask for health reasons.
  • in indoor public places where there are many people in close proximity to each other, such as* indoor public events, restaurants and religious gatherings.
  • in all situations where it is difficult to avoid close contact and where the risk of infection may be high.
  • outdoors, if you get stuck in a prolonged congestion that makes it difficult to move around.

Recommendation for the use of face masks for city employees

Regardless of the recommendations, everyone has the right to decide on their own mask use.

The recommendations for social and health care staff, visitors and teachers will be confirmed. The recommendations for education will be confirmed once the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have issued a national recommendation.

In the following cases, the previous recommendations for the use of face masks remain valid and will be reviewed at the latest in week 41:

  • In secondary education, including upper secondary schools and institutes of higher education.
  • In comprehensive schools, masks are recommended from grade 6 onwards.
  • For parents visiting early education premises when dropping off and picking up their children, for example.
  • For staff of early childhood education indoors where possible. Particularly for persons travelling between multiple locations.
  • For social and health care staff in patient and customer contact.

* The THL risk potential assessment table has been used in the preparation of the recommendation.

Recreational activities

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

Open-use sports facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms and group exercise classes, will no longer be subject to attendance restrictions from the beginning of October. Activities and competitions for all ages are allowed indoors and outdoors.

In the premises managed by the city, it is recommended to follow the health safety instructions for recreational activities.

When organizing recreational activities, it is recommended that:

  • The composition of the activity group remains the same.
  • Contact with other activity groups is avoided.
  • Do not participate in activities if you are displaying flu symptoms.
  • Recreational activities follow general guidelines for hand and coughing hygiene.
  • Unnecessary physical contact should be avoided in recreational activities.
  • Possible participant seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and there must, generally, be as much space as possible.
  • It is strongly recommended that instructors and children over 12-years-old continue to wear face masks when indoors unless health reasons strictly prevent it. A face mask does not need to be worn when performing exercises.
  • All participants in recreational activities are instructed to follow the given health safety instructions.
  • The organizer of the activity is always responsible for instructing and monitoring compliance with the instructions.
  • The attendance of those who are not participating should be minimized in activity and changing facilities.
  • The decisions of the Regional State Administrative Agency on public events apply to the public for competitions, matches and tournaments.
  • It is recommended to follow the principles described above in recreational activities that also take place outdoors.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus and to trace it, it is also important to keep a record of those present at each session of the group.

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa also strongly recommend that private operators follow the same health safety instructions in their recreational activities.

Remote work

The remote work recommendation ends on Friday, 15 October 2021. After that, workplaces can move to their own practices.

Workplaces must promote arrangements to reduce close contact and other potential risk factors.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

Members of the immediate family and loved ones can visit hospitalised patients at Helsinki City Hospital locations. The maximum duration of an indoor visit is one hour, and there may be two visitors at a time. Two visits per day are allowed in the patients' rooms. If the weather is favourable and the patient's condition allows it, you can also meet outdoors. There is no limit to the number of visitors, the duration of visits, and the number of visits if they are held outdoors. Safety instructions must be followed during all visits.

Two-hour visits are allowed for the family members of patients in terminal care. Two visitors are allowed at a time.

Visitors can meet residents of senior centres, service homes and nursing homes indoors. If the weather is favourable and the patient's condition allows for it, we recommend meetings be held outdoors. There is no limit to the number of visitors or the duration of visits. There can be several visits during the same day, and they must be arranged in advance no later than the previous day.

All visits must be agreed on in advance with the care facility of the relative no later than the previous day, and face masks must be used during the visits. You may only pay a visit when you are well. Safe distances and good hand hygiene must be ensured.

Service centres for pensioners and the unemployed

Starting from Monday, 4 October, the service centres will open almost all their services that have been closed, such as gym activities, restaurant services and open group activities. There may be exceptions to the opening hours of the restaurants at the service centres. The number of customer places has been restricted in the restaurants.

Larger events and gatherings will not be organised at the service centres as of yet.

All activities in the service centres comply with the applicable safety instructions. Customers are also encouraged to wear a facemask and take care of good hand hygiene. In all group activities, group sizes are limited and during the group meeting, attention is paid to the maintenance of adequate safe distances.

Day activities for the elderly

Day activities for the elderly will be reopened gradually from 1 June 2021 for clients who are in need of special support. Participants will be invited to the groups on an individual basis.

Regulations regarding customer premises

These regulations are in effect until 31 December 2021.

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

  • The possibility to clean one’s hands, either by washing or with sanitizer
  • Hygiene instructions must be on display
  • Possible customer seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and the premises should be arranged so there is as much space as possible between customers 
  • Cleaning of facilities and surfaces must be enhanced

(Communicable Diseases Act, Section 58(c))

Public premises

These recommendations are in effect until further notice.

Municipal customer service facilities and leisure facilities such as libraries, museums, cultural centres, youth centres and indoor and outdoor sports facilities are open.

All customer service facilities of the City of Helsinki shall take care of the implementation of health safety in accordance with section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act.

Cultural and recreational services

All cultural and leisure facilities are open during normal opening hours.

All customer service facilities of the City of Helsinki shall take care of the implementation of health safety in accordance with section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act.

Restrictions on restaurant opening hours, serving times and customer capacity

  • Food and beverage service businesses may serve alcoholic beverages between 7.00 and 24.00 and be open between 5.00 and 01.00.
  • Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages are restricted to only half of their normal number of customer seats. This applies indoor and outdoors areas. Other food and beverage service businesses are restricted to 75 per cent of their normal number of customer seats indoors.
  • All customers of food and beverage service businesses must have their own seat at a table or counter. This applies to indoor premises.

Public events

Restrictions from 1.10.2021.

Restrictions on gatherings at public events imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency will no longer apply from the beginning of October. However, the general hygiene requirements of the Communicable Diseases Act still apply, which improve the health safety of customer and public premises. Section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act defines general hygiene requirements and are valid without separate official decisions throughout Finland in various customer and public premises, such as shops, shopping centres, sports facilities, museums, theatres and libraries. Currently, the requirements are valid until the end of 2021.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND WELFARE: Recommendations for public spaces and public gatherings

Private events

There are no separate recommendations for private events. It is a good idea to follow general hygiene recommendations at all meetings.

Travel

Border controls have been discontinued

Internal border controls have been discontinued in Finland as of 26 July 2021 and traffic from EU and Schengen countries to Finland is now allowed without restrictions. See the Border Guard's Guidelines for details.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki from abroad by ship

Upon boarding the ship, you must have proof of having received one or two COVID-19 vaccinations (at least two weeks after the last vaccination), a negative coronavirus test result (tested within the previous 72 hours) or having contracted COVID-19 previously (within the previous six months). You will be asked to present the certificate at the Port of Helsinki.

You can expedite your arrival in Finland by booking the required tests in advance in the Finentry service or by completing a form issued by the City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care distributed on board. Your contact information form will be sent to the health care services of your municipality of permanent or temporary residence. The information provided can be used to refer you for a second test. The information may also be used for infection tracking.

No COVID-19 test will be administered if you have a certificate of a negative test result (tested within the previous 72 hours) or a certificate of having received one or two vaccinations of a multi-dose vaccination including two vaccinations. COVID-19 tests will also not be required for children born in or after 2006.

Due to the large numbers of passengers, there may not be time to test everyone for COVID-19. This means that you must be tested within 24 hours of entering the country in your own municipality. In some cases, you must be tested for a second time between 72 and 120 hours after entering the country. Protect yourself by wearing a mask when moving about, wait for your test result at home or in your accommodation and avoid contact with other people.

Making an appointment for a coronavirus test in Finland

The most convenient way to book a test is to use the service at the Finentry service. You can also make the appointment at a coronavirus information point in your municipality of permanent or temporary residence (Helsinki residents can call tel. 09 310 10024 every day 8:00–18:00). Residents of Helsinki with symptoms may also book a COVID-19 test in the omaolo.fi service.

Coronavirus tests conducted by Finnish public health care services are free of charge. Avoid contact with other people and stay home or in your accommodation while waiting for your test result.

The above instructions do not apply to cargo traffic and logistics personnel on work assignments or cruise passengers who do not disembark. People on duty must present a bill of consignment or sale. However, it is possible to get tested at the port. Instructions pertaining to specific work tasks have been prepared and distributed separately.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki from abroad by plane

Read more on the Finavia website

It is still recommended to avoid unnecessary travel to countries other than ones to which the restrictions on entry into the country do not apply. Before your travel, always check the up-to-date entry regulations from the authorities of the destination country (e.g. the country’s nearest diplomatic mission).

For more information, see the City of Helsinki Coronavirus FAQ.

For the latest information on travel restrictions in Finland, see the Border Guard's Guidelines for border traffic during the pandemic and the National Institute for Health and Welfare's Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

Organisation of teaching

Comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools and vocational institutions in Helsinki have started their autumn 2021 studies as contact teaching.

Safety in education, 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 are made by the Executive Director 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.

This recommendation is in effect 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

This recommendation is in effect 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 is in effect 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




15.10.2021 07:16