In its meeting on 26 November 2020, the coronavirus coordination group decided on new recommendations and restrictions to curb the spread of the regional epidemic. The new policies are a reaction to the threat of the epidemic spreading and the healthcare services becoming overburdened. The temporary recommendations and restrictions will continue as needed.
The coronavirus epidemic in the metropolitan area has worsened at an alarming rate. The coronavirus coordination group has prepared new restrictions, recommendations and measures that can be adopted quickly. The preparations have been made based on the epidemiological situation and overall assessment.
At the moment, infections spread especially within homes and through close social contacts, private parties and events, workplaces and leisure activities. Since only less than half of the infection sources can be currently traced, it is necessary to restrict social contacts more extensively, in addition to targeted measures.
We hope that the stricter restrictions and recommendations set for a period of three weeks will curb the regional epidemic. If this goal is not achieved, we are prepared to continue the restrictions and recommendations.
In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen will also adopt the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.
All organised leisure activities (including basic art education) held indoors will be cancelled. All leisure activities for people over 20 years old held outdoors will also be cancelled.
All outdoors sports reservations for people over 20 years old will be 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 will not be booked.
Outdoor sports facilities will be available to residents when children’s and young people’s activities are not held. Supervision and the presence of youth instructors will be increased in the outdoor facilities. The changing rooms and maintenance buildings will be closed.
Schools’ physical education classes will be held outdoors and in school facilities, not in other sports facilities.
The practice and competition opportunities for competitive and professional sports will be 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 coordination group recommends that private operators adhere to the same restrictions.
The restrictions will be in effect from 30 November to 20 December 2020.
Organising public events
All public events and meetings held indoors or outdoors will be 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 September 2020. Only absolutely necessary meetings of a maximum of 10 participants should be held. These include the statutory meetings of housing companies and associations. Even at these meetings, remote connections should be used whenever possible.
The restrictions will be in effect from 30 November to 18 December 2020. Relevant decisions will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
Organising private events
The coordination group recommends that close contacts be restricted to only involve contact with people in the same household or people who are as close as a member of the household. Other private meetings or family gatherings are not recommended. It is recommended that the guests of a funeral or a memorial service be restricted to only involve a small group of close relatives.
The recommendation will be in effect from 30 November to 20 December 2020
All customer spaces open to the public will be closed. This includes all indoor sports facilities, cultural centres, museums and youth facilities of the City. The operations of adult education centres will be cancelled. Korkeasaari Zoo will also be closed.
The facilities used for providing healthcare 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 will define the facilities offering essential services, which will be kept open limitedly and with regard to health and safety.
The coordination group recommends that private operators close similar sports and leisure facilities.
Libraries will 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.
The restrictions will be in effect from 30 November to 20 December 2020
Upper secondary education
Institutions of upper secondary education (upper secondary schools and vocational schools) will move to distance learning. The needs for necessary contact teaching will still be secured. Contact teaching will be offered, among other groups, to disabled students receiving special needs education and to students who need individual support for any reason.
Distance learning will begin at the start of the new evaluation period on 3 December 2020 and continue until 31 December 2020.
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. The group applies the regional operating model of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and its aim is to strengthen the formation of a common situational picture and to coordinate and prepare regional and local measures.
Consisting of top-level executives and administrators, the group uses the shared situational picture to prepare and coordinate decision-making. The final decisions are made by the respective operators within the limits of their authority. The group will further intensify collaboration in the metropolitan area, which has been ongoing during the entire coronavirus crisis.
The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.
Coronavirus updates from Helsinki
Key recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki
Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group
Cultural centres, museums, youth facilities and indoor sports facilities to be closed in Helsinki for three weeks – libraries stay open with restrictions
THL: Ajankohtaista koronaviruksesta
Photo: Heikki Nummi