Starting 4th October the COVID-19 epidemic in our region is in the spreading phase. Recommendations and restrictions will be changed according status of the epidemic.
Public premises open to the public and customer premises
Public customer-, participant- and waiting areas open to the public are closed until 26 January 2022.
These premises include
- Indoor premises used for team sports, group sports, contact sports and other similar indoor facilities used for sports and physical activities as well as gyms and other similar indoor physical activity premises
- Public saunas as well as swimming pools and spa pool areas and dressing rooms in the immediate proximity
- Dance halls as well as premises used for choir activities, amateur theatres or other similar premises used for group hobbies.
- Amusement -and theme parks, tivolis and zoo indoor premises
- Indoor play parks and indoor play facilities
- Public spaces in shopping centres excluding retail premises and premises used for services as well as access to these.
Premises that have been ordered to be closed cannot be kept open by requiring COVID-19 certificate.
However, the decision for closing does not apply to
- Professional sports
- Activities within private or family life
- Guided hobby activities for children and young people born after the year 2003
- Executing statutory services such as medical rehabilitation.
There is also a rule in the area for customer-and public premises that will remain open. These premises are for example shops, sports facilities (to the extent that they can be used), libraries, museums and theatres. The decision obliges the actors to decrease the infection risk caused by close contacts, for instance by restricting the number of customers, spreading over the participation of visitors or making arrangements for the premises and customer spaces. The operator of the premises may introduce COVID-19 certificate for anyone over 16 years of age, but one cannot avoid the regional restrictions by using COVID-19 certificate for the period of 30 December 2021 to 26 January 2022. This rule on the use of premises also applies to hobby activities of children and the young people.
Sections 58 c and e of the Communicable Diseases Act obligates the actors and operators of open public premises and public spaces.
All customer facilities need to
- Have the possibility to sanitize hands either by washing them or using hand sanitizer.
- To have sufficient instructions on hygiene
- To place the potential customer spaces long enough from each other’s and to arrange the stay as loosely as possible.
- Intensify the cleaning of the premises and surfaces from the normal level.
It is recommended for unvaccinated adults in Päijät-Sote area to avoid indoor facilities where there are a lot of people close to each other’s. In case a person still participates in these events, it is recommended to avoid close contacts and wear a mask.
The requirements of section 58c of the Communicable Diseases Act must be complied with in premises open to the public.
Libraries will be open, but safety distances need to be guaranteed in all premises. Group activities in adult education centres are arranged remotely until 31 January.
Public events and common meetings
The number of persons in indoor public events and common meetings will be restricted to 10 and outdoors to 50 persons starting from 27 December. The new rule is valid until 26 January 2022. One cannot avoid this restriction by presenting a COVID-19 certificate between 30 December 2021 to 31 January 2022.
Health safety and an effective chance to avoid close contacts in indoor premises still need to be guaranteed. By complying the rule given by The Ministry of Education and Culture in 31 May 2021 as well as the requirements of section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act. Here by close contact means physical contact.
It is recommended to restrict the number of participants in private events to 10 persons. The recommendations do not apply to situations where COVID-19 certificate is in use. It is still necessary to restrict close physical contacts due to infection risk. Face mask is recommended to be used in events that are held in indoor facilities. In private parties it is worth to consider THL’s instructions on arranging parties safely.
We strongly recommend the possibility for remote working in tasks where it is applicable. In addition, it is necessary to promote working arrangements, in which close contacts and other risk factors are reduced at workplaces.
Face mask recommendation
The general recommendation to use face mask applies to all over 12-years of age and applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Face mask is not required from persons who cannot not use the mask due to medical condition. A person’s own notice of the matter is considered sufficient. Disadvantaged people, who themselves do not have the possibility to obtain face masks, are entitled to receive them in the municipal distribution points.
Face masks are recommended to be used in the following situations:
- In schools starting from fourths graders as well as secondary school, upper secondary schools and universities.
- In all public indoor facilities and public events where there are people staying and moving around.
- In public transportation.
- On the way to COVID-19 sample testing and when moving outside of home before the test result is ready.
- Those who travel to Finland from risk areas when they proceed from the point of entry into quarantine or if they have a necessary reason to move outside of home.
Examples of public indoor facilities and events, where face mask is recommended:
- In shops, shopping centres, post offices, banks, libraries, and other similar indoor spaces.
- Spaces used for physical activities or sports as well as facilities used for watching them (at least in public spaces and dressing rooms).
- During sports performance a mask is not required.
- In churches and spaces for other religious communities.
- In concert halls, theatres and other similar facilities used for performances.
- In cinemas, museums, galleries and other similar spaces.
- Spaces used for congresses, exhibitions and other similar spaces used for arranging events.
- Parents’ quick visits for instance in early education and school facilities.
In addition face masks are recommended for those aged ober 12 years in outdoor situations, where:
- Long-lasting congestion may occur
- Moving around and keeping distance to others becomes more difficult
- Time is spent a long time among other people
Restrictions on visits to social- and healthcare units
It is recommended that visits to hospitals will be conducted in a safe manner. We recommend that during the visit there will be as little number of people as possible simultaneously and that the visit would be done firstly outdoors or in the hospital’s public premises. If the visit in not possible to be done outside the ward, the wish is that visitors will restrict the visiting time as short as possible. By having this recommendation in place, the aim is to reduce infection risk upon the visits. Visits in other social- and healthcare units are recommended to be done in a safe manner. We recommend meeting outdoors if that is possible. One is required to use face mask during the visits, take care of safety distances and good hand hygiene. We recommend taking with you a face mask once you come as a patient to a social and-healthcare unit.
Primary schools and secondary-level institutions remain in contact teaching. The mask recommendation is valid starting from fourth graders. The schools’ mask recommendation applies to all personnel. Municipalities will provide masks to schools.
Restrictions on the opening hours, licensing hours and customer capacity of restaurants (government decree)
Starting from Tuesday, 28 December all restaurants are obliged to finish serving at 17h00. And close the doors at 18h00. These restaurant restrictions cannot be avoided by requiring a COVID-19 certificate with the exception of food restaurants, that are still entitled to stay open without serving alcohol beverages at 18-20h00 with COVID-19 certificate.
Recreational and group activities
Safety instructions and distances must still be followed in all physical activities’ facilities according to the Ministry of Education and Culture’s instructions. On must not come to any physical activity premises if having symptoms.
In group hobbies safety recommendations must be followed. We recommend every actor to improve health safety further. Arrangements done in hobby activities may be for example the following:
- Mixing the groups will be reduced.
- Hugging, screaming and unnecessary gatherings will be avoided.
- Entry will be spread over.
- Group sizes will be reduced.
- Safety distances will be increased by space arrangements.
- Practice and activities will be moved outdoors.
- Some hobbies will be done remotely.
- Practice contents will be changed.
Please observe THL’s travel instructions and COVID-19 certificate available in Omakanta.
Travellers returning from abroad are advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, which may be shortened by taking two coronavirus tests. The first test is taken at the point of entry into the country (e.g. airport) or as soon as possible after arriving in the country. The second test is taken no earlier than 72 hours after arrival in the country. You must remain in self-quarantine at home or your accommodation while waiting for the test results. If the results of both tests are negative, you may stop self-quarantining. Self-quarantining and the additional test taken 72 hours after arrival in the country are not necessary in the following cases:
- the person has received two vaccine doses and the second dose was given more than two weeks ago, or
- the person has been infected with COVID-19 less than 6 months ago, or
- the person has been infected with COVID-19 and has received one vaccine dose more than one week ago (regardless of when the person was infected with COVID-19).
- within two weeks prior to arriving in Finland, the person has only stayed in a country where the incidence of COVID-19 is no more than 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within the preceding 14 days (also applying to non-vaccinated persons).
The duration of the voluntary self-quarantine for travelers and the official quarantine ordered by the infectious disease physician on an asymptomatic close contact exposed to coronavirus is 10 days. The home isolation of a patient with a mild coronavirus infection lasts for a minimum of 10 days. The patient must remain asymptomatic for two days before the isolation is lifted. The quarantine for those living in the same household as the patient is 10 days.
In principle, a person who has received two vaccine doses will not be placed on quarantine. However, even two vaccine doses do not give full protection against the infection. It is recommended after being exposed that the individual even having received two vaccines, does consider the exposure in his daily routines. For example, contacts with those belonging to risk groups or elderly people should be avoided 10 days after the exposure.
Koronavilkku mobile app
Päijät-Sote Joint Authority recommends downloading the Koronavilkku mobile application because using it can help us stop the spreading of coronavirus.
The COVID-19 Cooperation Group
The COVID-19 Cooperation Group appointed by the Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing convenes regularly. It includes representatives of the Joint Authority, the municipalities in the region, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre), and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The situation is monitored by the group on a daily basis, and new instructions are issued, as necessary.
Tuomo Nieminen, Chief Medical Officer, Head of Service, Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing
Ville Lehtinen, Chief Infectious Disease Physician, Physician Responsible for Infectious Diseases, Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing
Pekka Timonen, Mayor, City of Lahti
Osmo Pieski, Mayor, City of Orimattila
Tiina Granqvist, Director of Education, City of Lahti
Jukka Majuri, Physician Responsible for Infectious Diseases, Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing
Juha Saarenpää, Physician Responsible for Infectious Diseases, City of Heinola
ELY Centre representative
Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland representative