Tuesday 10/26/21

Helsinki recommends extending the use of masks to workplaces

Local authorities say the virus is spreading primarily "in places of work and hobbies."

The coordination group also recommends that parents use face masks when staying in early childhood facilities, for example when taking or picking up children.

17 September 2020, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Laage: An employee checks the production of protective masks at the medical technology company BM Bioscience Technology. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa.
Employee of a protective mask production plant in Germany. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa.

The city of Helsinki, epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in Finland, and metropolitan authorities have extended the recommendation to wear masks also to workplaces.

At its meeting on 13 October, the Metropolitan Coronavirus Coordination Group decided on new measures to curb the spread of the epidemic in the capital region.

The goal, as the city of Helsinki explains on its website, is to make decisions at the local and regional level against the Covid-19 disease and, at the same time, help society to stay as open as possible.

The coordinating group explained that at this stage they are not in favor of a large-scale shutdown of leisure services or a general transition to distance education. Their decision is to extend the mandatory use of face masks, as well as to establish stricter controls to stop the spread of the epidemic, which in the Helsinki-Uusimaa area has killed 281 people (out of a total of 346 deaths in Finland).

The recommendations of the authorities are based on the epidemiological situation in the capital area and, they say, on the fact that the virus is currently spreading mainly "in places of work and hobbies."

Face masks

According to the new policy of the coordination group, the use of a face mask is now also recommended in all workplaces in Helsinki region, especially in situations where people interact with each other more widely (meetings, breaks, common areas).

The group also recommends that parents use face masks when staying in early childhood facilities, for example when taking or picking up children.

Until now, Helsinki recommended the use of masks in public transport, public spaces (such as shops and malls) and at events for anyone over 15 years of age. In addition, the use of the mask is recommended in secondary schools, universities and youth work, as well as for social and health care personnel.

Public and private events

Currently, events for more than 50 people can be held indoors and outdoors if safety can be ensured in accordance with the general instructions given by Finnish health authorities.

But in the opinion of the local health authorities (HUS and THL) and the cities of the metropolitan area, it would be justified to issue a new binding regulation already in October, which establishes that meetings of more than 20 people, both outdoors and outdoors, only can be celebrated if participants use face shields.

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland will make a final decision on this.