It is the recommendation of the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group in its meeting on 8 April 2021 that the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland extend the application of temporary section 58(g) of the Communicable Diseases Act for two weeks until 28 April 2021, however, with the exception that any private or public premises designated for closure may still be used for guided recreational activities aimed at children born in 2008 and later. The closure decision does not apply to professional sports or activities that are regarded as parts of private or family life.
The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa outlined at the meeting on 30.3.2021 that an aligned return to education would be gradually implemented.
As previously outlined, upper comprehensive schools and secondary education will continue in distance learning mode in their entirety for this week.
In week 15, starting from 12 April 2021, upper comprehensive schools will transition to a rotation model in accordance with municipality-specific implementation measures. In upper comprehensive schools, the rotation model means that the different grades will alternate in remote and classroom education. Every city has its own rotation model schedule according to which the education shall be implemented.
Upper secondary schools will continue with remote education until the end of the fourth quarter (roughly mid-April), following which they will transition to a rotation model, in which half of the upper secondary students shall attend contact teaching at any one time. The fact that matriculation examination candidates have already completed their studies has been taken into account. The fourth quarter ends at different times in different municipalities.
Vocational institutions will continue with remote education for just as long as the upper secondary schools of the same municipalities. After this, vocational education will transition to a rotation model wherein one third of the students of the learning community shall be in contact teaching at any one time.
The group sizes will be adjusted in the teaching in order to maintain safe distances.
The coordination group will return to the issue of the use of masks in primary schools at its meeting next week when expert views are known.
The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland will release further information on its pending decisions.
Earlier restrictions and recommendations by the coronavirus coordination group that will mostly be valid until the end of April
The restrictions and recommendations of the coronavirus coordination group will mostly be valid until 30 April 2021. The decision was made based on the prevalent epidemiological situation and overall assessment. 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.
Education in upper comprehensive schools
Upper comprehensive schools will continue with the remote arrangements until 11 April 2021. In week 15, starting from 12 April 2021, upper comprehensive schools will transition to a rotation model in accordance with municipality-specific implementation measures. The decision also applies to students in the 10th grade.
Indispensable needs for contact teaching will continue to be met. For example, the following must be secured: special-needs education, extended compulsory and preparatory education as well as other essential contact teaching.
Municipalities shall make decisions about moving to a rotation model.
Upper secondary schools will continue with remote education until the end of the fourth quarter (roughly mid-April), following which they will transition to a rotation model, in which half of the upper secondary students shall attend contact teaching at any one time.
Vocational institutions will continue the remote education for just as long as the upper secondary schools. After this, vocational education will transition to a rotation modelwherein one third of the students of the learning community shall be in contact teaching at any one time.
Closure of public and private premises
The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland has ordered a variety of facilities to be closed in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in accordance with temporary Section 58(g) of the Communicable Diseases Act. The closure decision applies widely to the following types of facilities and premises of public and private sector operators:
- indoor facilities used for team and group sports, contact sports and similar sports or physical exercise, as well as gyms and other similar indoor sports facilities
- public saunas and swimming halls, outdoor swimming pools, pool facilities at spas and the dressing rooms in their immediate connection
- dance facilities and facilities used for choir singing, amateur theatre and other similar recreational group activities
- amusement and theme parks, fairs (circuses) and indoor facilities of zoos
- indoor playparks and similar premises
- public lounges at shopping centres, with the exception of retail business premises, premises used for providing services and the access routes to these
Otherwise, the premises designated for closure may be used for the supervised recreational activities of children born in 2008 and later, as well as for the implementation of statutory services. The closure decision does not apply to professional sports or activities that regarded as parts of private and family life.
The restriction will be valid until 11 April 2021. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland is preparing a new decision on the closure of the premises and will inform about the matter in more detail separately.
Enabling actual distancing at public premises, temporary section 58(d) of Communicable Diseases Act
Private and public operators are obliged to arrange the use of premises that are open to the public or intended for a limited group of customers or participants in such a way that the customers, activity participants and groups can feasibly avoid close contact. The decision applies to a wide range of private and public customer premises, with the exclusion of restaurants. If it is impossible to avoid contact, the customer premises can be completely closed by decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality.
The restriction will be valid until 30 April 2021. The decision was made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
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 six 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. For events of up to six people, only those that are absolutely necessary should be organized, and even in these cases, remote connections should be used whenever possible.
These restrictions will remain in effect until 30 April 2021. The decision on the restriction was made 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 under any circumstances. Guests at a funeral or memorial service should still be restricted to only a small group of close relatives.
The recommendation will be valid until 30 April 2021.
All public customer spaces will remain closed throughout May with the exception of the guided recreational activity time slots reserved for children born in 2008 or later. This includes all municipal cultural centres, museums and youth facilities. Contact teaching at the adult education centres has been suspended in favour of distance learning in November.
The facilities used for providing health care and social services, early childhood education, comprehensive education and essential 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. Libraries will continue to offer limited services.
The coordination group continues to recommend that private operators similarly restrict the use of sports and leisure facilities.
The restrictions and recommendations will be valid until 30 April 2021.
The indoor and outdoor premises of the cities can only be used for guided recreational activities of children born in 2008 or later. All forms of activities for children and young people must be implemented without close contacts.
The restriction will be valid until 30 April 2021.
The coordination group still recommends employers to arrange all tasks remotely wherever possible, even temporarily. If remote work is impossible, the employer is recommended to instruct the employees to use face masks at all workspaces, even where it is possible to maintain safe distances. Workplace meals and coffee breaks must be staggered.
The recommendation will be valid until 30 April 2021.
Face mask usage
Face mask usage is recommended for all persons above 12 in all indoor spaces outside their home.
The recommendation will remain valid until further notice.
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 will also adhere to the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.