Guidelines for the safe reopening of domestic tourism in Finland
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on tourism throughout the world. To ensure that tourism and business activities can resume safely and responsibly, action must be taken to provide sufficient information and guidance to businesses to safeguard the health and safety of tourists, and to make sure both tourists and everyone involved in the tourism industry are fully committed to following healthy and safe practices.
Purpose of the guidelines
The purpose of the guidelines drawn up jointly by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is to help companies in the tourism sector to conduct their activities safely during the coronavirus epidemic. By following the guidelines companies can ensure the safety of staff and tourists and reduce the risk of infection as domestic tourism reopens. The guidelines will enter into force immediately.
Guidelines for safe domestic tourism
1. Avoid all travel if you are ill
The coronavirus causes a respiratory infection. The symptoms may include cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, muscle pain, abdominal symptoms and headache (Finnish institute for health and welfare: information about coronavirus COVID-19). Avoid all travel if you show any symptoms of illness. Those who have symptoms should contact the healthcare services and take a coronavirus test as instructed. If you become ill while travelling, you are entitled to urgent care in the municipality where you are staying. If you have symptoms, you must inform the staff of the tourism company to prevent the spread of the infection.
If you suspect you may be infected after your trip, go for a coronavirus test immediately. Go for the test even if you have only mild symptoms. By doing this, you can also protect your loved ones and other people. You can make a symptom assessment at Omaolo.fi.
2. Risk groups
If you have been diagnosed to be in a risk group, you should avoid all travel and consult your doctor before making travel decisions. More information about groups at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus: Finnish institute for health and welfare: Risk groups of severe coronavirus disease.
3. Avoid unnecessary physical contact
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through droplets (Finnish institute for health and welfare: information about coronavirus COVID-19). When travelling, avoid situations where you are in direct contact with other people. Tourism companies must inform tourists of safe distances between people, and take steps to ensure safe distances are kept in public premises and when taking part in guided tours and similar activities.
4. Good hand hygiene and cough hygiene prevents infections
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through droplets (Finnish institute for health and welfare: information about coronavirus COVID-19). Proper cough and hand hygiene practices as well as using a face mask prevent COVID-19 infections. Currently the use of face masks is recommended throughout the country.
- Everyone must maintain good hand hygiene, both employees of tourism companies and tourists. Always wash your hands whenever you come in after you have been out, after sneezing or coughing, or if your hands are visibly dirty. Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands.
- When sneezing or coughing, place a disposable handkerchief to cover your mouth and dispose of it immediately after use. If you do not have a handkerchief, cover your mouth with your upper arm near your inner elbow. Then wash your hands.
- Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Information materials: how to wash your hands and cough properly
- Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Using cloth face masks during the coronavirus pandemic
- Finnish Institute of Occupational Health: Information on homemade face masks
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted as a droplet when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is possible that the virus might also be transmitted through physical contact. Coronaviruses do not survive for long periods in the air or on surfaces in varying temperatures. No cases of transmission of the infection through goods have been detected.
Use a slightly alkaline all-purpose cleaner in cleaning. You can use disinfectant to step up cleaning in sanitary facilities. Follow the instructions provided by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
- Wipe contact surfaces such as door handles, payment terminals, reception desks and tables, elevator buttons, light switches and taps at least once a day, preferably twice a day.
- Avoid using shared equipment such as keyboards, and make sure to always clean them after use between users.
- Finnish Institute of Occupational Health: Cleaning guidelines
6. If a member of staff or a customer becomes infected with a coronavirus while travelling
The physician responsible for infectious diseases in the municipality or hospital district in which the customer or tourist is staying or in which the tourism company is located is responsible for investigating transmission chains. If a member of staff of a tourism company or a customer is diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, action will be taken to examine whether anyone has been exposed, and those exposed may be quarantined.
7. Preparedness provides support for emergency conditions
Tourism companies are advised to draw up a preparedness plan and train staff for COVID-19 related emergencies.