New restrictions for Helsinki region as daily cases hit record high


The mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, at a press conference on Friday 20 November.

Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori announced on Friday that from Monday 23 November the maximum allowed number of participants in public indoor events will be limited to 20 people in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The decision, taken by the Regional Administrative Agency of the State of Southern Finland, will be in effect for at least three weeks.

The regional coronavirus coordination group further recommends that no private events for more than 10 people be organized.

Adult indoor team and contact sports at public facilities in the region will be suspended for three weeks as on Monday. This restriction does not apply to individual and collective activities of national teams, to competitive activities at national championship or top division level or to professional training for international events.

The number of users allowed in public swimming pools will be half of the normal capacity, and the occupancy of reading rooms in libraries will be reduced.

A recommendation has been issued for the use of face masks in the workplace and in high schools. The workplace recommendation targets both the public and private sectors. Students in upper secondary education will receive masks, but will be able to use their own. The use of rotating distance learning periods for secondary school students should be extended.

Early childhood education staff are also recommended to use masks indoors.

Record the number of cases

THL Chief Physician Taneli Puumalainen told reporters on Friday morning that Finland had recorded a record 461 new confirmed cases of coronavirus. The largest increase in new cases, 229, was recorded in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district.

However, not all of these are an increase from Thursday’s figure, as the total includes a backlog of previously unreported cases in the Pirkanmaa and central Finland regions.

One new death has also been reported.

Major theaters and Finnish opera cancel performances

The restrictions will affect many cultural institutions in the Helsinki region. Among others, the Finnish National Theater and the State Opera will close their doors to the public for three weeks starting next Monday.

The Helsinki City Theater was the first to announce the cancellation of performances.

“We had no choice. The message was very clear and we do not have shows that can accommodate a maximum of 20 people”, Managing Director of the Helsinki City Theater Kari arffman said.

However, next weekend’s performances will take place at the Helsinki City Theater and the Finnish National Theater as scheduled.

Arffman said customers who have already purchased tickets for shows in the next three weeks can either get their money back or exchange them for future performance dates.


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