The Helsinki Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends a gradual return to combined remote and local working – recommended use of face masks continues
Several restrictions in the metropolitan area have been lifted during February as the epidemic has steadily improved. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends to employers that, from 1 March onwards, extensive remote working can be gradually phased in to combine remote and local working. With the freeing of society, the responsibility, as well as good health and safety measures, of both people and operators are emphasized.
Coronavirus infections are still widespread throughout the metropolitan area. The load placed on hospitals by coronavirus patients in both intensive care units and wards has decreased from last week’s level, although at a slower pace than before.
Responsible behaviour can only be emphasized as restrictions are lifted. In various premises open to the public and in customer premises, attention should continue to be paid to measures required to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act). Customers must be able to wash their hands, and customers and participants should be given instructions on how to maintain adequate safe distances, wash their hands, and other similar practices. In addition, intensified cleaning of premises and surfaces should continue.
Customers and participants should continue to be spaced out as well as possible and the customer seats should be placed far enough apart from one another. The above-mentioned requirements pursuant to section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act are valid according to the law without separate decisions until 30 June 2022.
In addition, the coronavirus coordination group recommends that health safety recommendations, such as participation only by those who are completely asymptomatic, good hand hygiene, and adequate safe distances, be followed in private events.
For the time being, an extensive face mask recommendation is in force in the metropolitan area. The continued use of face masks is still recommended for anyone over the age of 12 years old, regardless of their level of vaccination protection, when staying indoors or in vehicles with other people. Use of face masks is also recommended in school facilities from the sixth grade upwards. There is still no reason for operators to relax their practices regarding the use of face masks.
The coronavirus coordination group outlined that the face mask recommendations for 3rd-5th graders in schools may be waived from 1 March onwards. Face masks may still be used, if desired, and face masks can still be obtained from schools.
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 also follows the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.