The new regional recommendations aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic are divided into three categories: base level, acceleration phase and spreading phase.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) at the beginning of the government negotiations on new recommendations and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on October 15, 2020. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The government has decided on national and regional recommendations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The recommendations consider the most recent assessment of the pandemic. The government will adopt a resolution on the recommendations at its plenary session next week (the week beginning on October 19).

The regional recommendations are divided into three categories based on the development of the epidemic.

Base level

In regions where the epidemic is at the base level, the government recommends that all public events and leisure activities with more than 50 participants be arranged in a way that takes into account the guidelines from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Education and Culture on hygiene recommendations and safe distances.

Leisure activities and the use of public spaces must be organized so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice.

Acceleration phase

In the acceleration phase of the epidemic, the government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 20 people.

All public events must be arranged in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The number of people at public events held in indoor spaces is restricted to half the normal capacity.

When using public spaces, arrangements must be made to ensure that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice. In addition, the number of customers permitted in indoor spaces is restricted by half.

Due to the restrictions on the use of spaces, it is recommended that indoor group leisure activities for adults be suspended in situations where there is a high risk of infection.

All group leisure activities must be arranged so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice.

Spreading phase

In the spreading phase of the epidemic, the government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 10 people If necessary, public events may be prohibited altogether.

The government also recommends suspending group leisure activities altogether if this is necessary due to the restrictions on the use of spaces. However, careful discretion should be used when considering whether to suspend children’s hobbies.

If necessary, public spaces may be closed altogether, taking into account the nature of their use.

Remote work

Because of the widespread increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide, the government recommends that employees in the public sector work remotely as extensively as possible if their duties so allow. 

The government also recommends that private-sector employers adopt similar extensive remote work practices. Employers are responsible for assessing how best to coordinate remote and on-site work at their workplaces. Employers should also promote work arrangements that reduce close contacts and other risk factors for employees.

The national recommendation on remote work will remain in force until further notice. The validity of the recommendation will be reassessed by December 31, 2020.

The government’s policies and recommendations on remote working are not legally binding on employers.

Distance learning

The government also recommends that higher education institutions switch to distance education, taking into account the need for essential contact teaching.

As a last resort, the government recommends that upper secondary schools switch to distance learning, taking into account the need for essential contact teaching.

The government’s recommendations are not legally binding.