Face mask usage required at cities’ indoor sports facilities, group sizes reduced in guided indoor sports  

As of Monday 2 November 2020, the cities of the Metropolitan Area will require face mask usage from all persons above 15 years of age. Group sizes of indoor sports events for working age people and seniors will be reduced, but this will not affect the sports activities of children and young people.

 “Culture, sports and hobbies are important for people’s well-being, particularly in these difficult times. Lists specific to certain kinds of sports will not be made in the Metropolitan Area, but we require health security-improving changes in all activities. Many operators have already made such changes. Each of us is needed to keep services safe and available and activities running,” says Tommi Laitio, Director of the Culture and Leisure Division of the City of Helsinki.  

Face mask usage required at the indoor sports facilities of cities

Face mask usage is recommended at all culture and leisure facilities of the Metropolitan Area.

As of Monday 2 November 2020, the cities of the Metropolitan Area will require face mask usage from all persons above 15 years of age. Face masks should be used at all times except during the actual sports exercises. Face mask usage is not required from persons whose state of health rules out the use of masks. Customers must purchase their own face masks, and the mask must be on before entering the indoor sports facility. The mask must be used in lounges, reception and meeting facilities, dressing rooms, stands and other similar areas.The obligation to wear a mask at indoor sports facilities also concerns personnel and external operators operating in the premises. Face mask usage is also strongly recommended for private operators.  

The requirement of face mask usage is a measure to ensure that sports activities can be pursued during the coronavirus epidemic’s acceleration phase. Sports facilities must not be visited by persons with symptoms.

“The entire sports industry must be involved in fighting the spread of the virus and ensuring the continuation of sports activities. Therefore, the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa strongly recommend that face mask usage also be required at the sports facilities of private and non-profit associations in the Metropolitan Area. Face mask usage is an essential way of preventing the spread of the virus,” Sports Director of the City of Helsinki Tarja Loikkanen emphasises.  

The dressing and shower rooms of cities’ indoor sports facilities will be kept open, but they should be avoided or at least used as quickly as possible. 

The same behaviour is required from users of school sports facilities. The City strongly appeals to private companies and non-profit operators to apply the same practices in their facilities and operations as those applied by the cities. Private indoor sports facilities are recommended to enforce a face mask usage obligation according to the principles described above.

Groups sizes to be reduced in guided indoor sports

The group sizes of indoor sports events for working age people and seniors − such as fitness classes, guided workouts and watersports − will be reduced by dividing customers into subgroups attending these events at either odd or even weeks based on the lists of participants. The reduction does not concern groups in which safe distances can already be maintained. No common equipment will be used at group exercise classes, sports classes will be shortened a bit at their ends and beginnings in order to loosen transitions and, where necessary, the content of the classes will be adapted so as to require less deeper breathing.

Customers of indoor sports classes will be informed of the changes to the courses by e-mail as necessary. Customers whose e-mail addresses are unknown to the Sports Services will receive group-specific information from their instructors at the classes in the coming weeks. During the autumn season, the reduced groups will be able to attend about three exercise occasions less than they would have been able to attend otherwise. Season fees will not be reimbursed due to changes in the indoor sports classes. Customers will be offered the option to replace cancelled indoor exercise classes with extra outdoor exercise classes arranged in different parts of Helsinki during the rest of the season. More detailed information on the substitute outdoor exercise classes will be provided in e-mails to the customers.

Guided group exercise classes of applied exercise, local exercise and Nyt-liikunta will mainly be arranged normally, but some exercise groups will be halved and some forms of sports will be moved to outdoor facilities.

Foto: City of Helsinki