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24.08.2021

New restric­tions on social gath­er­ings in the Soite area

The Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency for West­ern and Inland Fin­land placed meet­ing restric­tions on the Soite area. Accord­ing to these restric­tions, the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants dur­ing events indoors may not exceed 10 peo­ple and in con­fined out­door spaces a max­i­mum of 50 peo­ple may gath­er. In addi­tion, the Min­istry of Social Affairs and Health has pub­lished a let­ter on rec­om­mend­ed restric­tions for pub­lic gath­er­ings. When orga­niz­ing events, the restric­tion regard­ing gath­er­ings that The Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency issued on August 23rd 2021 and the facts stat­ed in the let­ter by the Min­istry of Social Affairs and Health must be tak­en into account.

The risk of expo­sure and the spread of coro­na infec­tions is par­tic­u­lar­ly high in all sit­u­a­tions where a large num­ber of peo­ple come togeth­er and may end up in close con­tact with each oth­er. Thus, it is essen­tial to pro­vide anti-infec­tion mea­sures at pub­lic events and meet­ings. In addi­tion to ensur­ing the abil­i­ty of the health care sys­tem to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion, the restric­tions are also intend­ed to ensure that edu­ca­tion can be arranged as con­tact teach­ing, espe­cial­ly for those who are in pri­ma­ry education.

On Mon­day 23rd of August 2021, the Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency for West­ern and Inland Fin­land issued restric­tions on gath­er­ings in ​​the munic­i­pal­i­ties of the Cen­tral Ostro­both­nia Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict (excl. Reisjärvi) in accor­dance with Sec­tion 58 of the Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases Act. The restric­tion on gath­er­ings issued by the agency is based on the joint view that Soite and the region­al COVID-19 author­i­ty group have pre­sent­ed regard­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Accord­ing to the deci­sion, the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants at pub­lic events and gen­er­al meet­ings is lim­it­ed to:

  • Max 10 participants during events indoors
  • Max 50 people during events in closed-off outdoor spaces

The restric­tion is in effect from 25th of August to 14th of Sep­tem­ber 2021.

How­ev­er, events with more par­tic­i­pants can also be orga­nized with­out a lim­it on the num­ber of peo­ple, if safe­ty can be ensured by fol­low­ing the instruc­tions issued on the 31st of May 2021 by the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Cul­ture and the Finnish Insti­tute for Health and Wel­fare (THL). The guide direct­ly sup­ple­ments the oblig­a­tions of Sec­tion 58 c of the Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases Act. Read more in the Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency’s mes­sage (in Finnish)

Fol­low­ing the instruc­tions issued by THL/the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Cul­ture means in prac­tice that:

  • The event organizer must ensure that customers and participants have as much space as is possible taking into account the specific characteristics of the activity. This does not require the constant maintenance of a  safety distance of a certain number of meters, but arrangements in which e.g.
    • 1) participants have their own seats
    • 2) the formation of long queues is prevented by the arrival and distribution arrangements of the participants
    • 3) crowds are avoided by the use of taping/roping off areas and placing out security guards and/or by regulating opening hours or the rhythm of activity.
  • The organizer of the event may recommend or require that everyone who attends uses a mask, but should take into account that health reasons may prevent some people from wearing a mask. The face mask recommendation should primarily apply to 12-year-olds.
  • The cleaning of premises and surfaces should be intensified in addition to what has been specified elsewhere regarding cleaning in the activity in question

The cur­rent reg­u­la­tion by The Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency does not pre­vent the con­tin­u­a­tion of hob­by and team sports activ­i­ties, pro­vid­ed that the activ­i­ties fol­low THL’s guide­lines: Koronariskin vähen­tämi­nen vapaa-ajan liikun­nas­sa ja muus­sa har­ras­tus­toimin­nas­sa (THL).

The Min­istry of Social Affairs and Health also issues instruc­tions for the orga­niz­ing of events

In addi­tion, the Min­istry of Social Affairs and Health issued a let­ter on 19th of August 2021 with instruc­tions regard­ing restric­tions on pub­lic events (in Finnish). Accord­ing to the ministry’s instruc­tions, low-risk pub­lic events and gen­er­al gath­er­ings may be orga­nized tak­ing into account the fol­low­ing points:

  • General hygiene instructions must be followed
  • Customers are assigned personal seating or standing places that have been reserved in advance
  • Max 75% of the maximum number of seats allowed under other legislation or of the total number of available seats or standing places is used.
  • As a rule, during the event, people sit or stand still and participants are instructed to avoid using a loud voice. During the event, the formation of crowds is prevented.
  • The organizer will ensure that the instructions they have given are followed.

Region­al instruc­tions for event organizers

Soite has pre­pared guide­lines for local event orga­niz­ers for orga­niz­ing events that are safe for the health. When orga­niz­ing events, the meet­ing restric­tion issued by The Region­al State Admin­is­tra­tive Agency on the 23rd of August 2021 and the facts stat­ed in the instruc­tions by The Min­istry of Social Affairs and Health must be tak­en into account. For events of more than 50 peo­ple, the orga­niz­er must draw up a writ­ten plan on how to pre­vent coro­n­avirus infec­tions. The plan will be sub­mit­ted to Soite’s team for the pre­ven­tion of the spread of infec­tious dis­eases by e‑mail: infektioidentorjunta@soite.fi. If nec­es­sary, Soite’s unit for pre­ven­tion of the spread of infec­tious dis­eases will assess the ade­qua­cy of the mea­sures pre­sent­ed in the plans.

Soite updates the cur­rent region­al event orga­niz­er guide­lines in more detail after the COVID-19 region­al author­i­ty task group has had its meet­ing on August 25th 2021.

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