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Regional situation in the coronavirus epidemic and issued recommendations

A regional coordination group operates in Uusimaa to organize the regional work that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health requires the authorities to carry out and to coordinate the measures (in Finnish). The group convening on a weekly basis monitors the epidemic situation and the need for recommendations and restrictions aimed at tackling the epidemic. The group is chaired by Chief Medical Officer Markku Mäkijärvi from HUS.

The regional coordination group proposes recommendations and restrictions related to the epidemic. The official decisions will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency (Aluehallintovirasto) and by municipalities.

Epidemic situation on February 18th 2021

The COVID-19 epidemic is in the spreading stage in the entire Uusimaa region. 

The regional recommendations:

Use of face mask for everyone aged over 12 years is recommended:

  • in public transportation, and in taxis for both the driver and the passengers
  • in public spaces and events
  • in private spaces (shops, banks etc.)
  • in secondary education, universities and youth centers  
  • in hobbies 
  • social welfare and healthcare personnel in work with patients and clients

Additionally, use of face mask is recommended for staff and pupils in upper comprehensive schools (yläkoulu). Use of face masks or shields is recommended for staff in daycare centers and lower comprehensive schools (alakoulu).

Remote work and use of masks recommended at the workplace

Employers are recommended to organize remote work in all tasks that can be carried out remotely even temporarily. If working remotely is not possible, employers are recommended to instruct employees to wear face masks in all working spaces even when maintaining safe distances is possible. Workplaces should stagger lunch and coffee breaks.

Private events:

The coordination group recommends that no private events be held. Private events also include family gatherings. However, small memorial services (of 10 people at most) are excluded and can be held.

Instructions for people infected with COVID-19 and their caregivers:

It is also recommended to follow Finnish institute for health and welfare's instructions "Treatment of coronavirus and instructions for the infected"

The regional restrictions:

The elderly and at-risk groups:

Protecting the elderly and other at-risk groups is especially important. Restrictions on visiting social welfare and healthcare units, including units that provide 24-hour-care:

  • Meeting visitors outdoors is recommended, if possible.
  • The number of visitors indoors and the duration of visits has been restricted. These restrictions are monitored. Visits to shared facilities are not permitted. More detailed information on the visiting practices in units can be found on the units’ websites.

Public events:

All indoor and outdoor public events are prohibited by decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency. Events for a maximum of 6 people are allowed if organized so that they follow all instructions on safe distancing and hygiene given by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and Ministry of Education and Culture. The recommendation is that events would only be held for a compelling legal reason (such as shareholders’ meetings). 

Public spaces:

All municipality-run facilities open to the public will be closed with the exception of securing the right to access essential public services. 

 

We recommend that the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland immediately decide to put into effect the temporary section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act (link in Finnish). This section provides for the obligation to organize locations open to public or to a limited number of customers or participants so that the customers, participants and groups are actually able to avoid close contact to each other.

We also recommend that the Regional State Administrative Agency decide to put into effect the temporary section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act for its main parts as soon as possible (link in Finnish). This section provides for closing the facilities specified in the act from customers and participants temporarily to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Leisure activities

All organized 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.

HUS recommends that recreational activities for children and adolescents remain suspended. If a municipality decides to reopen activities for children and adolescents, HUS recommends a limit of 10 people in such gatherings.

The coordination group recommends that private operators adhere to the same restrictions.

Organizing education:

Municipalities will decide if high schools, vocational schools, non-formal adult education (for over 15-year-olds), polytechnics, and universities shall move classes to hybrid learning.

Food and beverage service businesses:

Restricting the opening hours, alcohol sales hours and the number of customer seats of food and beverage service businesses: according to the guidelines issued by the Government.

More information

Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group

Read more about the criteria for the different stages of the epidemic in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s press release and the publication ”Action plan for implementing recommendations and restrictive measures under the hybrid strategy following the first phase of the COVID-19 epidemic” (in Finnish).

The current municipality-specific recommendations and restrictions can be found on each municipality’s website:

City of Espoo

City of Helsinki

City of Vantaa