Public at a theatre.

Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends easing restrictions on public events from 8 February

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland that indoor public seating be allowed at 50 per cent capacity from 8 February, onwards.

However, it is also recommended that the maximum number of participants be limited to a maximum of 500 people. Large private events are still recommended to be avoided. The aim is to allow indoor public events without restrictions in from 1 March, onwards, if the epidemic situation and the hospital load allow it.

The coronavirus pandemic situation and its development in the metropolitan area has turned towards the better. The peak of the epidemic in the metropolitan area is estimated to have passed and the situation is generally levelling off, although infection rates have remained high. The epidemic situation in the metropolitan area remains the worst in the country. The load placed on hospital care is also still high, although the need for hospital care has gradually declined. The long-lasting situation, which places an exceptional load on social and health care, has placed a considerable burden on the entire service chain. Furthermore, non-emergency care, for example, has to be kept at lower from normal levels.

Last week, the coordination group recommended that public events be allowed between 1–15 February, in such a way that a maximum of 50 people can be accommodated when seated indoors. However, the general epidemic situation in the metropolitan area has continued to develop favourably and restrictions can be eased in accordance to a quicker timeframe than previously announced. The coordination group emphasizes the importance of gradually easing restrictions in order to manage the risk of the epidemic recurring, as well as the load placed on hospital care.

The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland decides on restrictions on public events and communicates its decision later.

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group also outlined the continuation of the current broad remote work recommendation, at least until the end of February. The current extensive mask recommendation will be continued for the time being.

It is still important to take a COVID-19 vaccination, use a face mask, take care of hand hygiene, and avoid extra close encounters.

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group prepares local decision-making

The Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group on 10 September 2020. In line with a regional operating model devised by Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the group aims to strengthen the formation of a common situational assessment and to coordinate and prepare local and regional measures.

The group consists of top management from each member organisation and is responsible for the preparation and coordination of decision-making based on a shared assessment of the situation. Each member makes decisions independently, within its own sphere of authority. The group further intensifies the close metropolitan area collaboration that has continued throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.

In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen also follows the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.

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Coronavirus updates from Helsinki

Photo: Tero Lahti