Use of masks during travel in day and work activities for people with intellectual disabilities

Published: 20.1.2022 14.22

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends wearing a mask in public transport, where close contact cannot always be avoided.

The THL recommendation is applied in the daytime activities of Espoo’s disability services as follows:

  • Masks (surgical masks) are distributed to clients for travel-related today and work activities. The masks are given to both group transport and clients who travel to the activities by public transport.
  • The masks are mainly distributed at the activity centres.
  • The masks are given to those who want them. The use of a mask is not compulsory, and clients cannot be obliged to wear a mask.
  • Clients living in their childhood homes are given masks to take home for the morning commute. For clients living in housing units, the workers put on their masks when they get into the taxi.
  • If necessary, clients are assisted in putting on the mask or the mask is put on them before their trip to or from the day or work activities.
  • During group transport, the taxi driver wears a mask. Clients’ mask use during group transport or on public transport cannot be monitored during the journey. The driver must focus on driving. 
  • For clients whose own views on mask use cannot be determined, the matter is agreed on with a family member. A mask is not used if the client is unable to express e.g. if the mask feels uncomfortable or if they cannot breathe properly with the mask on. Some clients may take their masks off during the journey, in which case it is of no use. 
  • Clients in supported work activities (with incentive pay) can pick up masks either from activity centres or from the City’s distribution locations (face masks are handed out to people with low income at the social services offices and certain organisations’ locations).
  • Clients in supported employment (with salary) must buy/procure their masks for commuting.
  • Activity centres distribute disposable (surgical) masks, not cloth masks.
  • The City of Espoo recommends that other service providers follow the same principles in their activities. For the daytime activities of the Eteva and Kårkulla joint municipal authorities, the authority in question is responsible for the travel related to its activities and any face masks used during this travel. 
  • The distribution and use of the masks will start in the week of 24 August, as soon as the distribution can be launched.
  • Alternatively, family members can drive the client to the daytime activities and invoice the City for a kilometre allowance afterwards using the form available on the disability services web pages.

During the activities, both clients and staff will continue to be advised on good hygiene daily. Contact between different groups is avoided through the arrangement of activity premises, meals and transitional situations. As the number of clients in activity centres increases, so does the risk of various infections. Clients may not take part in the activities when they are even slightly ill. Clients and their family members must assess the clients’ state of health daily.

Face masks can also continue to be used in other situations where it is impossible to maintain safe distances. Face masks are one way to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. The primary ways to prevent infection are avoiding close contact, washing hands as instructed and practising good coughing and sneezing hygiene.

Contact information

Kuninkaantie day activities, responsible instructor tel. +358 (0)50 541 1064

Riilahti day activities, responsible instructor tel. +358 (0)40 639 4005

Work activities
Kuninkaantie and Riilahti activity centres, responsible instructor tel. +358 (0)50 360 4592


Service Manager tel. +358 (0)46 877 1358

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