Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the staff of Finland’s UNESCO World Heritage site Suomenlinna has asked that visitors avoid trips to the historic sea fortress for the time being. In addition to being a popular tourist destination and leisure site for locals, the islands are a residential district, with about 800 year round residents and hundreds of people that work there. To reduce the risk of infection for these people and others, non-residents are asked to stay away until further notice.
The only way to get to Suomenlinna is via a ferry, requiring passengers to sit and stand in close proximity on their voyage. Maintaining safe distances grows more difficult as the amount of people on the ferry grows. Many residents of the island have no choice but to use the ferry each day to go to work or take care of other business, as it is their only means of transport to the mainland.
Most of the public services at Suomenlinna are closed right now, due to official regulations. Restaurants and cafes, for example, are not serving people normally, and museums have also shut their doors. The one grocery store on the islands is the only source of food for local residents. As with the ferry, large amounts of people filling the shop would increase the risk of further coronavirus infections.
The sea fortress staff asks the public to help keep the islands and their residents safe under these exceptional circumstances. They suggest that people enjoy the Easter holiday in natural environments near their home as an alternative.
Photo: Seppo Laakso.