The amendment of the Communicable Diseases Act has been confirmed – we urge enterprises and other operators to pay attention to the new restrictions

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2021-02-22 16:12

The amendment of the Communicable Diseases Act entered into force on 22 February 2021. The amendment empowers local and regional authorities to perform proactive and fast measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The majority of the changes will be valid until 30 June 2021.

According to the Act, an authority may impose regional restrictions on enterprises and recreational activities whenever necessitated by the prevention of the epidemic’s spread. The obligations and restrictions are based on the avoidance of physical contact between people. The restaurants have been left out of the scope of this regulation, as they are affected by specific regulations and legislation.

Certain basic things must be up and running at all customer facilities. This regulation comprehensively concerns all operators such as stores, gyms, hairdressers and recreational facilities.

The following must be arranged at all customer facilities:

  • the possibility to clean one’s hands either by washing or with sanitizer

  • sufficient hygiene instructions displayed at all customer facilities

  • possible customer seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and there must be generally be as much extra space for interaction as possible

  • the cleaning of facilities and surfaces must be enhanced.

The aforementioned obligations do not require of a separate decision, but everybody must comply with these rules by the time the Act enters into force.

In the acceleration phase, regional authorities can decide that activities must be arranged in such a way that no close contacts are created. To ensure that their activities are safe, businesses can choose the best way to operate so that customers can avoid close contact with one another in practice. This can mean space arrangements, staggered timetables or, alternatively, restricting the number of customers.

In the community transmission phase, the municipality or the Regional State Administrative Agency can close businesses or other facilities that are intended for customers and participants for a period of two weeks. This can only be applied to those facilities and spaces defined in the Act that may generate significant infection chains. These include

  • indoor and other sports facilities

  • public saunas and swimming pools

  • dance halls

  • amusement parks

  • indoor playgrounds

  • public space in shopping centres. 

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group urges private and public operators in its area to prepare for the new restrictions. Upon entering into force of the Act, the competent decision-making authority in the matter will be the Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality in its respective area. The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group is continuously monitoring the epidemic situation. As the situation changes, the group is prepared to re-evaluate its decisions quickly.

More information onthe Finnish Government's website.