Recommendations and restrictions in force in Vaasa Hospital District
A part of municipalities in Vaasa Hospital District is currently in an spreading phase of the coronavirus epidemic.
Figures of municipalities rating by incidence rate will not be announced no longer. Decision has been made by the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group on 19th January 2021. Incidence rate will be announced only as one figure for the whole district. If there is a need for more accurate information will the district be defined to the three parts: northern, inner and southern part of the district.
In this article, you will see the current recommendations and restrictions related to the coronavirus situation. Information on face mask recommendations, public events, public gatherings and instructions of applying to a corona test and instructions of leisure activities is included.
The responsibility for decision-making regarding restriction measures and recommendations lies with different authorities. For this reason, information follows the decisions, instructions, recommendations and restrictions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) and municipalities.
The epidemiological situation in the area is monitored by the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group, whose recommendations are also compiled here.
Travel recommendations and guidelines
Pay attention to your own safety, as well as the safety of your loved ones and others when travelling. The well-followed guidelines of Ostrobothnia are suitable throughout Finland; abroad, there may be considerably stricter regulations, even those sanctioned by the threat of a fine.
- When travelling: make sure you know the epidemic situation at your destination or country visiting, as well as the restrictions that apply there. Be prepared to follow new restrictions if they are stricter than the ones you already have. Please make sure you and those you meet are healthy. Do not go on a trip if you are sick; or don’t start a trip without a negative corona test result. If you are going abroad, make sure you have good travel insurance.
- While travelling: Remember the basic principles of protection; social distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene. Maintain a safe distance from groups and other risk situations. It is worth visiting shops outside peak hours. In restaurants, it is reasonable to remember to protect yourself in accordance with basic principles, and extremely serious safety considerations are recommended when visiting bars and nightclubs. Be sure to apply for a corona test at your destination even for mild symptoms, and make sure you get the proper test result. Remember to avoid social interaction while waiting for a test result.
- When returning from a trip: remember; you are a potential virus carrier and infectious. Of course, you will have reduced this risk by following the guidelines, but unfortunately the behaviour of others can destroy the result of your own good behaviour.
When returning to Ostrobothnia, it is therefore vital to remember to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask and practise good hand hygiene.
In all situations, when returning from a trip, we recommend minimising physical social interaction (voluntary quarantine), as well as teleworking whenever possible for 10 days. It is extremely important that you apply for a corona test for even the mildest of symptoms; the disease is very infectious, and you can be sick and infectious without even knowing it.
- It is advised to follow the recommendations given by THL when organising parties. According to these recommendations, social interaction should not be completely avoided, but safe alternative ways of social interaction should be created instead. If you want to get together, it is recommended to do so in groups of less than 10 people and possibly using remote connections.
Face mask recommendation
- The recommendation to wear a face mask in all public areas remains until 31 March 2021, after which the situation will be reassessed.
- The recommendation is to always wear a face mask at public events and while in indoor public spaces, including school pupils from Grade 6 and above. Although this recommendation previously only applied to those from around the age of 15 and over, it now extends to everyone attending schools from the age of 12 and above. This recommendation is in line with the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) relating to the spread of the corona epidemic.
- Owners of shops and other public spaces, as well as service providers, are encouraged to set a face mask recommendation for their employees and customers for reasons of occupational safety, and to ensure that safe social distancing of 1 to 2 metres is observed in all situations.
- For all visitors to social welfare and healthcare services throughout the hospital district, including cases where safety margins can already be met. Visitors must stay in the patient’s own room and must not be in the common areas.
- THL´s (Finnish institute for health and welfare) rekommendation on the use of face masks is currently in force in the whole country. The recommendation is divided into different levels of the corona epidemic.
Recommendation and restriction on public events and gatherings
The Regional State Adminstrative Agency:
- The Regional State Administrative Agency of Western and Inner Finland prohibits all indoor and outdoor public events and general meetings attended by more than 10 (ten) people in the municipalities of Vaasa Hospital District. However, public events and general meetings with max. 10 (ten) people may be held indoors and outdoors, provided that safety can be ensured in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare on 21 September 2020 (in Finnish). The order is valid from 22 December 2020 to 17 January 2021. This decision repeals the order of the Regional State Administrative Agency of 23 November 2020 for the Vaasa Hospital District region.
- The Regional State Administrative Agency of Western and Inner Finland prohibits all indoor and outdoor public events and general meetings attended by more than 10 (ten) people in the municipalities of Vaasa Hospital District. However, public events and general meetings with max. 10 (ten) people may be held indoors and outdoors, provided that safety can be ensured in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare on 21 September 2020 (in Finnish). The order is valid from 18 January 2021 to 8 February 2021.
Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group:
- The recommendation of the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group from 25th of November is that private gatherings for more than 10 people should not be held. Recommendation will continue until 14th of February 2021.
Recommendation on social distancing
- Try to maintain an adequate safe social distance of 1-2 metres from other people. The recommendation applies to all contacts outside the family circle, both at work and in leisure time.
- A reminder, especially for gyms, is to ensure that adequate safe social distancing rules are observed.
Sports clubs and other free-time activities: Safe exercise with safe distances should be maintained.
Protection of the elderly and at-risk groups, strong recommendations
- Particular attention should be paid to the elderly and at-risk groups.
- Indoor visits to care homes for seniors must be carefully organised to take place in the resident’s own room and common areas should be avoided. Check the up-to-date instructions for municipalities and operating units.
Regarding remote work, Vaasa Hospital District follows the national recommendation and is recommended by the regional Corona Coordination Group to be extended until 31st March 2021.
The Government recommends that public sector employees work remotely as widely as possible if their duties allow. Similar extensive remote working is also recommended for private employers. The assessment of the coordination of local working and remote working takes place in the workplace. The guidelines and recommendations made by the Government on remote working are not legally binding on employers.
- For workplaces, it is recommended to stagger breaks and maintain safe social distancing, as well as to use face masks. However, it is the responsibility of employers to arrange safe working conditions. Work arrangements reduce close contacts with other risk factors in the workplace.
- When returning from a trip, we recommend minimising physical social interaction (voluntary quarantine), as well as teleworking whenever possible for 10 days. It is extremely important that you apply for a corona test for even the mildest of symptoms.
- Stay at home even with mild respiratory symptoms and follow the instructions given.
- It is recommended that seasonal workers from abroad remain in voluntary quarantine for 14 days after entering the country and before starting work. If the worker has not been tested on arrival at the airport, it is recommended that the worker be tested during voluntary quarantine, even if the worker is asymptomatic. Coronavirus testing is carried out by the municipality in whose jurisdiction the seasonal worker works. If a worker develops symptoms associated with a COVID-19 infection during voluntary quarantine, it is recommended that the worker be tested at that time as well. Even if the result of the virus test is negative, it is recommended that the employee continues to self-isolate until the end of the recommended period (14 days).
Recommendations for educational institutions
The Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group recommends that upper secondary school dances (vanhojen tanssit) be postponed until later in the spring or early autumn. According to the group, Penkkarit celebrations can be held in February if the current recommendations on social distancing, the wearing of face masks and group size limitations are followed. Municipalities will decide the timing of both the dances and celebrations.
- See your municipality's recommendations, restrictions and decisions regarding the activities of educational institutions in the list of municipalities.
Recommendations for sports, leisure and cultural activities in Ostrobothnia
- The effects of the epidemic on the organisation of sports, cultural and leisure activities vary at different stages of the epidemic. The regional phase of the epidemic is assessed weekly in the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group. This document highlights the national recommendations and refines them for the various stages on a regional level. (Material in Finnish or in Swedish).