The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group:
Support for waiving the blocking requirement for public events and the two-metre safe distances
The epidemic situation in the metropolitan area has improved, although infection rates and the proportion of positive tests are still high in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. At the same time, vaccination coverage has increased at a good pace and the pattern of serious cases has decreased from previous epidemic peaks.
At its meeting, the metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group has decided to recommend to the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland to waive the blocking requirement for public events and the two-metre safe distance requirement under Section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act. Relaxing restrictions at public events requires that health safety can be ensured by other means. The blocking requirement and the two-metre categorical safe distance may be waived if health safety can be ensured by other means and other measures can be applied at public events to reduce the risk of infection.
Health safety at public events is enhanced by measures such as:
a recommendation or obligation to wear a mask imposed by the organiser,
the organiser's recommendation to avoid loud noises,
the seat allocated to the customer,
instructions on how to move around, enter and leave the premises, including, where possible, the use of multiple entrances and the staggering of the public's access.
For indoor public events, blocking may be waived if the public capacity is limited to 50%. In outdoor areas, blocking may be waived if the public capacity is limited to 75%. If the capacity of the outdoor space cannot be determined, it must at least be ensured that physical contact can be avoided. Ensuring physical distance in all encounters remains important for epidemic management.
Decisions on public events will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland. The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group stresses that there is an urgent need to move from isolated measures and separate circulars to a comprehensive update of the government's hybrid strategy that includes the progress on vaccinations. The rapid introduction of the COVID-19 passport should also be promoted without delay.
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. 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.