People in the capital region are now encouraged to wear face masks at their workplaces, especially during meetings and coffee breaks.

Stock photoraph.

HELSINKI—Members of the Helsinki metropolitan area coronavirus coordination group have decided on new recommendations to limit the spread of the Covid-19. The group now advises people to wear face masks in their workplaces and has proposed a binding order be issued for the mandatory use of masks at public events.

Masks should be worn in “all workplace situations,” the City of Helsinki noted in a statement. Masks are especially important during meetings, coffee breaks and gatherings in common areas. In addition, the recommendation also applies to situations in which it is difficult to avoid close contact or enforce recommended hygiene and safety precautions.

The group also recommends that parents and guardians use a mask when visiting early childhood education facilities—when they drop off and pick up their children from daycare and pre-primary education.

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland recently decided that events with more than 50 people can be held indoors and outdoors in October, if participant safety can be ensured in line with instructions from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Social and Finland’s Ministry for Education and Culture.

The cities of the Helsinki metropolitan area join the HUS hospital network and THL in the belief that it would be warranted to issue a new binding order already in October that says that indoor and outdoor public events for more than 20 people can only take place if everyone involved (customer service staff and participants) is required to wear a mask and only half of the event venue’s capacity is in use.

The group sees that a stronger binding regulation is needed for the entire Helsinki metropolitan area until the end of November. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland is responsible for making an official decision on this matter.

The organizers of the events are responsible for ensuring participants’ health safety.

The use of a face mask is already recommended for everyone over the age of 15 in public spaces (shops and malls), at public events, as well as when using public transport. This recommendation had been earlier expanded to upper secondary schools, universities and youth work, as well as for social and health care personnel who interact with patients or customers.

The coronavirus coordination group does not condone a broad transition to distance learning or the large-scale closure of leisure activities at this juncture, preferring instead to step up more regulated use of masks, enhanced safety and hygiene guidelines, and stricter controls to curb the spread of the pandemic.