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Govt recommends remote working until yearend

Published : 15 Oct 2020, 22:05

Updated : 15 Oct 2020, 23:41

  DF Report

The government at a meeting decided on national and regional recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on Thursday. Photo Finnish government by Jussi Toivanen.

The government on Thursday recommended that the employees in the public and private sectors work remotely as extensively as possible, if their duties so allow, following nationwide widespread increase in coronavirus cases.

The national recommendation on remote work will remain in force until further notice. The validity of the recommendation will be reassessed by 31 December, said an official press release.

The government in its meeting also decided on national and regional recommendations help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The government will adopt a resolution on the recommendations at its plenary session on 19 October.

The meeting observed that employers are responsible for assessing how best to coordinate remote and on-site work at their workplaces. Employers should also promote work arrangements that reduce close contacts and other risk factors for employees.

The recommendations on remote working, however, are not legally binding on employers.

Meanwhile, the regional recommendations are divided into three categories based on the development of the epidemic.

In regions where the epidemic is at the base level, the government recommends that all public events and leisure activities with more than 50 participants be arranged in a way that takes into account the guidelines from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the education and culture ministry on hygiene recommendations, and safe distances.

Leisure activities and the use of public spaces must be organised so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice.

In the acceleration phase of the epidemic, the government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 20 persons.

All public events must be arranged in compliance with the guidelines issued by the THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The number of persons at public events held in indoor spaces is restricted to half the normal capacity.

When using public spaces, arrangements must be made to ensure that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice. In addition, the number of customers permitted in indoor spaces is restricted by half.

Due to the restrictions on the use of spaces, it is recommended that indoor group leisure activities for adults be suspended in situations where there is a high risk of infection.

All group leisure activities must be arranged so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice.

The government also recommends that higher education institutions switch to distance education, taking into account the need for essential contact teaching.

In the spreading phase of the epidemic, the government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 10 persons. If necessary, public events may be prohibited altogether.

The government also recommends suspending group leisure activities altogether, if this is necessary due to the restrictions on the use of spaces. However, careful discretion should be used when considering whether to suspend children’s hobbies.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Sanna Marin described the decisions as an effort to create mental momentum.

Regional implementation is a better option than country-wide measures in some respects, Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko told a press conference

However, Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said she is worried “that not all districts” had taken sufficient decisions so far.