In its meeting on 5.1.2021, the coronavirus coordination group decided to extend the validity period of the current restrictions and recommendations until 31.1.2021. The purpose of the extension is to prevent the epidemic and new virus variant from spreading and reduce the risk of overburdening social and health care services. After the new end date, the temporary recommendations and restrictions will be extended further as needed.
The coronavirus coordination group monitors the impacts of the effective restrictions and recommendations on the coronavirus situation on a daily basis. At present, however, the effects of the holiday season on the development of the epidemic are difficult to assess with any reliability.
The current restrictions and recommendations, which were originally imposed by the coronavirus coordination group on 26.11.2020, will remain in place until 10.1.2021. The new decision will extend these restrictions and recommendations until 31.1.2021, The decision was made based on the prevalent epidemiological situation and overall assessment.
That said, the restrictions relating to leisure activities for children and young people and the preparations for matriculation examinations will be reassessed shortly in the coordination group meeting to be held on 14.1.2021, on the basis of developments in the epidemiological situation, the spreading of the virus variant and possible new policies set forth by the Government.
In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen will also adhere to the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.
The restrictions and recommendations that were imposed by the coronavirus coordination group on 26.11.2020 and will remain in place until 31.1.2021.
All of the municipalities’ organised leisure activities (including basic art education) held indoors have been cancelled. All leisure activities for people over 20 years old held outdoors have also been cancelled.
All outdoors sports reservations for people over 20 years old are cancelled. Outdoors sports for people under 20 years old will continue based on the reservations booked earlier. Competitions, games or series will not be held. New reservations are not being booked.
The municipalities’ outdoor sports facilities are available to local residents when children’s and young people’s activities are not held there. Supervision and the presence of youth instructors have been increased in these outdoor areas. Changing rooms and maintenance buildings will remain closed.
School sports will be arranged outdoors and at school facilities, but not at other sports facilities.
The practice and competition opportunities for competitive and professional sports have been secured for professional sports based on a series licence agreement or sports agreement, as defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. This includes national teams, athletes supported by the Olympic Committee and athletes receiving a grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area Sports Academy.
The coronavirus coordination group continues to encourage private operators to comply with the same restrictions.
These restrictions will remain in effect 30.11.2020–31.1.2021.
Organising public events
All public events and meetings held indoors or outdoors have been prohibited for a limited time. However, organising public events and meetings of a maximum of 10 participants will be allowed, provided that safety can be ensured based on the instructions given by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on 21.9.2020. Events with at most 10 persons should be limited to the indispensable minimum, such as statutory shareholders’ meetings and association meetings. Remote connections must be used also in these cases whenever possible.
The restrictions will be valid 11.1.–31.1.2021. The decision to extend the restrictions in the area was made on 5.1.2021 by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
Organising private events
The coordination group continues to recommend that close contacts be limited 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 memorial service should still be restricted to only a small group of close relatives.
The recommendation will be valid 30.11.2020–31.1.2021.
All customer spaces open to the public will remain closed. This includes all municipal indoor sports facilities, cultural centres, museums and youth facilities. The operations of adult education centres have been suspended. Korkeasaari Zoo is also closed.
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.
The coordination group continues to recommend that private operators close similar sports and leisure facilities.
Libraries will continue to offer limited services, which include:
• 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, unless health-related reasons prevent it.
These restrictions will remain in effect 30.11.2020–31.1.2021.
Upper secondary education
Secondary education (upper secondary schools and vocational education institutions) will continue with distance learning arrangements. Indispensable needs for contact teaching will be met. For example, contact teaching will be provided to students with disabilities that are receiving special needs education and to students who need individual support for various reasons.
Distance learning began at the start of the new evaluation period on 3.12.2020 and will continue until 31.1.2021.
The metropolitan area’s 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.
Photo: Heikki Nummi