New capital region covid restrictions come into force

The restrictions will last around three weeks, but officials say they could be continued if it doesn't curb the spread of the virus in the capital city region.

File picture of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen coronavirus coordination group press conference, Helsinki, 27th November 2020 / Credit: City of Helsinki

New restrictive measures to slow the spread of coronavirus are being introduced Monday  in the capital city region.

Joint action by Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen is being taken as officials say the virus situation “has worsened at an alarming rate.”

“At the moment, infections spread especially within homes and through close social contacts, private parties and events, workplaces and leisure activities” the coronavirus coordination group says.

“Since only less than half of the infection sources can be currently traced, it is necessary to restrict social contacts more extensively, in addition to targeted measures.”

From Monday all organised leisure activities held indoors will be canceled. All leisure activities outdoors, for people aged over 20, are also canceled. These restrictions remain in place until 20th December.

In addition all public events inside or outside for more than 10 people are prohibited, until 18th December, and there’s a recommendation that close contacts be restricted to involve only people in the same household – with private meetings and family gatherings not recommended.

All museums, cultural centres and Korkeasaari Zoo are closed – with libraries offering only a limited service; while upper secondary schools and vocational schools will switch to distance learning until the end of the year.

“Normal life is interrupted in many ways for a while, this is also our purpose” for introducing the new restrictions, Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) wrote on Twitter.

The coordination group from Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen say they hope these restrictions will curb the epidemic in the region, but say “if this goal is not achieved, we are prepared to continue the restrictions.”