A sign urging visitors to observe social distancing in the window of the Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki in November 2020. The theatre has cancelled all performances until the end of May 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is likely to relax some of the restrictions adopted to contain the spread of the new coronavirus next week, indicates information obtained by Helsingin Sanomat.

A decision on relaxing the restrictions is set to be made in a government session on Thursday.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday wrote that the decision would effectively re-enable the organisation of small public events in most parts of the country, by allowing concert halls, live venues and theatres to re-open to limited attendees also in areas in the acceleration stage of the epidemic.

Virtually all such venues have been shut down in areas in the acceleration or community transmission stage of the epidemic due to a ban on events with more than six attendees. The decision would open the door for outdoor events with up to 50 attendees and indoor events with up to 10 attendees in areas in the acceleration stage. Private events, meanwhile, would be allowed as long as they are not attended by more than 20 people.

The Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) could also allow the organisation of outdoor events with more than 50 and indoor events with more than 10 attendees on certain conditions on social distancing.

The organisers would be required to comply with certain health security recommendations, according to the daily newspaper.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, it also wrote, would no longer recommend to municipalities that public facilities be kept closed, thus enabling local authorities to re-open spaces such as libraries at 50 per cent of usual full capacity.

Its information indicates that the ministry is expected to issue new instructions to municipal and regional authorities stating that areas in the acceleration stage no longer need to adhere to recommendations specified at tier two of the hybrid coronavirus strategy. Finland, thereby, is set to move to the first or lowest tier of the strategy, meaning areas in the acceleration stage no longer need to utilise measures laid down for areas in the community transmission stage.

The instructions would have no impact on areas in the baseline stage of the coronavirus epidemic.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT