Pedestrians in downtown Helsinki on 23 March 2022. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


THE CAPITAL REGION of Finland has eased its mask recommendation, the task force coordinating the regional response to the coronavirus pandemic decided on Wednesday.

The task force stated that the recommendation remains in effect in certain settings where avoiding close contact with others is challenging, such as congested indoor spaces and public transport, but that in other settings people are allowed to wear masks at their own discretion.

Wearing a mask also remains recommended for people who have a pressing reason to move outside their home and who suspect they may have contracted the virus, are experiencing respiratory symptoms or have been exposed to the virus. People using social and health care services are similarly advised to comply with any guidelines provided by the service provider.

The mask recommendations issued for schools, universities and other education institutions in the region have been lifted, although user of such spaces are allowed to wear a mask at their own discretion. The distribution of free masks to students and staff in education institutions will continue.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) eased its broad-based mask recommendation significantly last week. The task force in the capital region responded to what was described as an unexpected announcement by stating it would uphold its own recommendation until it has re-examined it.

Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) on Wednesday said it has lifted its “strong mask recommendation” based on the new guidelines from the task force. The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) continues to recommend mask use for people who themselves or whose family members could benefit from it.

Finnair on Thursday announced passengers on its flights will not be required to wear a mask as of Monday, 25 April. Wearing a mask, however, will remain mandatory on flights to and from countries that require that air passengers wear a mask; such countries include France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

The Finnish airline is encouraging passengers to look up the mask requirements of their country of departure and destination from the websites of local authorities and airports.

Also VR tweeted yesterday that it has done away with its broad-based mask recommendation.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT