The restrictions concern the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

The coronavirus-related restrictions have canceled all events at the Senate Square in Helsinki. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

Recommendations and restrictions decided by the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group on November 26, 2020, will be extended until January 10, 2021.

According to the group, this new decision, which was revealed on Friday, responds to the threat of the pandemic spreading and social and healthcare services becoming overburdened. The group also noted that the temporary recommendations and restrictions may be extended once again in January, if necessary.

In addition to the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the capital area city of Kauniainen will also observe the coronavirus coordination group’s decision to extend the current recommendations and restrictions.

Leisure activities

All municipally-organized leisure activities (including basic art education) held indoors will be canceled. All leisure activities for people over 20 years of age held outdoors will also be canceled.

All bookings of outdoor sports facilities for people over 20 years of age will be canceled. Outdoors sports for people under the age of 20 will continue based on the times booked earlier. Competitions, games or series will not be held. No new booking will be accepted.

Outdoor sports facilities are available for resident use at all times when children’s and young people’s activities are not taking place. Supervision and the presence of youth instructors will be increased in the outdoor facilities. Changing rooms and maintenance buildings will be closed.

Schools’ physical education classes will be held outdoors and inside school facilities, not in other sports facilities.

The practice and competition opportunities for competitive and professional sports will be secured for professional sports based on a series license agreement or sports agreement as defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. This includes national teams, athletes supported by the Olympic Committee and athletes receiving a grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area Sports Academy.

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The coordination group continues to strongly recommend that private operators adhere to these same restrictions.

These restrictions are in effect from November 30, 2020, to January 10, 2021.

Organizing public events

All public events and meetings held indoors or outdoors will be temporarily prohibited, although those with a maximum of 10 participants will be allowed if participant safety can be ensured based on the instructions given by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on September 21, 2020. These 10-person-maximum events and meetings should however be necessary, for example, statutory meetings of housing companies and associations. Even at these meetings, remote connections should be used whenever possible.

These restrictions are in effect from November 30 to December 18, 2020. Relevant decisions about extending these restrictions will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.

Organizing private events

The coordination group still strongly recommends that close contacts be restricted to members of the same household or people who are considered as close as household members only. The organization of other private meetings or family gatherings is not recommended. Guests at funerals or memorial services should be limited to a very small group of closest relatives.

This recommendation is in effect from November 30 2020 to January 10, 2021.

Public premises

All customer premises that are open to the public will stay closed. This includes all municipal indoor sports facilities, cultural centers, museums and youth facilities. The operations of adult education centers will also continue to be suspended. Korkeasaari Zoo will stay closed.

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The facilities used for providing healthcare and social services, early childhood education, comprehensive education and essential upper secondary education will remain open. Services such as the essential use of customer computers in libraries and the distribution of face masks to those in need will continue. The cities will define the facilities offering essential services, which will be kept open on a limited basis, with due regard for health and safety.

The coordination group continues to recommend that private operators close similar sports and leisure facilities.

Libraries will continue to offer limited services, which include:

Picking up materials from the reservation shelves and select themed shelves by the self-service machines.

Essential and quick use of customer computers.

Service primarily relies on reservations and use of the self-service machines.

If necessary, the service desk will provide assistance and guidance.

Wearing a mask is obligatory when using libraries unless health reasons prohibit it.

These restrictions are in effect from November 30, 2020, to January 10, 2021.

Upper secondary education

Institutions of upper secondary education (general upper secondary schools and vocational education) will continue to arrange their instruction as distance learning. These learning institutions will still provide face-to-face instruction that is deemed essential. For example, contact teaching will be offered to students with disabilities that are receiving special needs education and to students who need individual support for various reasons.

Distance learning began at the start of the new evaluation period on December 3, 2020, and will continue until January 10, 2020.

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