The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa recommend that everyone over the age of 15 start using face masks in municipal service situations in which it is difficult to avoid close contact. Intended primarily for libraries, indoor sports and fitness centres, museums, customer service points and upper secondary schools, the recommendation will take effect on 1 October 2020, although residents are encouraged to start using the masks immediately.
“We hope that people in the capital city area will take the expanded mask recommendation seriously and start using face masks, unless they have a special health condition that prohibits them from doing so. This way we can avoid the need for stricter measures like opening hour restrictions or a transfer to distance learning in schools,” said the mayors of the three cities, Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, Espoo Mayor Jukka Mäkelä and Vantaa Mayor Ritva Viljanen.
Municipal services will secure customer safety in many ways. To limit close contact, the cities will rearrange their indoor spaces, install protective plexiglass, reduce the size of groups, and offer more self-service options. Reminders of the latest coronavirus guidelines from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) will also be on display.
Customers of municipal services will be responsible for buying their own masks. The cities distribute free masks for the needy at several distribution points.
The expanded face mask recommendations supplements other safety guidelines for combating the spread of coronavirus, including thorough handwashing, maintaining safe distances from others, staying home when ill, and seeking out testing at the first sign of symptoms.
THL’s expanded face mask recommendation is valid in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS), where the coronavirus epidemic has been identified to be in the acceleration phase.
Further instructions for mask use can be found in English on the THL website.
Free face masks available for people with low income through Social Services and organisations