Guidelines Concerning Coronavirus COVID-19

June 10, 2021 9:30 am

Latest guidelines from Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland concerning the Coronavirus COVID-19 are to be found on this webpage. Updates will follow as guidelines concerning the epidemic become clearer and in accordance with health authorities.

Follow the destinations own web page on Nationalparks.fi to see the regional decisions. We also follow the municipality recommendations: On the destinations own web page on Nationalparks.fi you can see to which municipality the destination belongs. Then you can familiarize yourself with the municipality recommendations.

Hiking and Walking

Nature sites can be visited following the basic rules and guidance from the health authorities. 

Being in nature is good for you, and getting outdoors is recommended when you: 

  • Keep distance from others - at least 2 metres. Maintain good hand hygiene. Always follow the instructions from the public health authorities.
  • Think about which locations tend to get crowded, and choose less-busy alternatives. 
  • Bring lunch and snacks that do not require preparing or cooking on a fire. Designated campfire and picnic sites can get very crowded. Or buy a take-away picnic meal from a tourism entrepreneur who has a meal or café service adjacent to your nature destination. 
  • If you are planning to stay overnight, it is a good idea to bring your own shelter. Sufficient safety distances cannot always be guaranteed in huts and lean-to shelters. 

Further Information: Finnish institute for Health and Welfare (thl.fi)

Nature and Visitor Centres, Events and Guided Tours

There are differences in the epidemic situation between regions in Finland. Some Nature Centres may have to close. Check the current situation on the webpage of the Destination or Nature Centre you are planning to visit.  Nature centers.

Metsähallitus employees use face masks to ensure the safety of customers and personnel in situations where a sufficient safety distance cannot be maintained. Metsähallitus provides Nature Centre visitors with face masks, if needed. When visiting a Nature centre, keep a distance of 2 meters from other people.

The number of people who may be present in any particular room at one time will depend on the organization and the size of the room. Entrance to Nature Centres may be limited to avoid crowds and to maintain safe distances between visitors.   

Visits at the Nature Centre during the stable level of the epidemic

  • General safety and hygiene instructions apply.
  • The number of participants in guided tours, public events, and other events is not limited. Good hygiene and customer guiding are to be taken care of in the arrangements. An adequate social distance is maintained between participants and groups.
  • Participants in the Nature Centres' customer and business premises are kept in a sufficient distance of each other.

Visits at the Nature Centre during the acceleration phase of the epidemic

  • The number of participants in public events and other events is not limited. Participants and groups must avoid close contact with each other, when there are more than 10 persons indoors, and more than 50 persons in limited outdoor areas.
  • Private events are subject to the same recommendation as public events.
  • The use of private customer and business premises in the Nature Centres can be restricted. Participants and groups must avoid close contact with each other, when there are more than 10 persons indoors, and more than 50 persons in limited outdoor areas.

Visits at the Nature Centre during the community transmission phase of the epidemic

  • In public events, the maximum number of participants is 10 persons indoors and 50 persons in limited outdoor areas. Participants and groups must avoid close contact with each other. Outdoor events of more than 50 people can be organised, if the public spaces can be divided into blocks.
  • Private events are subject to the same recommendation as public events.
  • Nature Centres may be temporarily closed. 

Decisions on whether to offer guided tours indoors are made locally, following the instructions and guidance from Finnish institute for health and welfare and Regional hospital districts. Please contact our Nature Centres and Visitor Centres for more information about guided tours. The National Institute for Health and Welfare's guidelines are followed very closely in all events and guided tours, and our own guidelines are updated on the basis of these guidelines.

The current situation regarding the phases of the epidemic on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s website (thl.fi) 

Wilderness Huts and Reservable and Rental Huts

Reservable, rental, and wilderness huts remain open, but in some areas of the country, the maximum capacity of the reservable huts has been reduced for the time being. Metsähallitus recommends that customers go to the website of their destination to check the situation in the area in question before leaving for their trip. Metsähallitus also recommends using your own accommodation. Cancelling a hut booking is the customer's responsibility. For the cancellation of reservations, Metsähallitus’ current reservation and cancellation terms are in force. Metsähallitus reserves the right to make changes to the terms and conditions. 

Instructions for Hut Accommodation

If you are planning on spending the night, bring some type of accommodation with you. During the coronavirus pandemic, it is impossible to guarantee sufficient safety distances in wilderness huts and lean-to shelters, so the safest option is to overnight in your own accommodation (tent, lean-to shelter, hammock).

Metsähallitus will increase its guidelines online and in the huts on preventing the spread of corona virus in hut accommodation. 

Customers staying in huts will reduce their own and other’s risk of infection by doing the following:

  • Do not travel if you are ill, or if you have flu or stomach symptoms  
  • Dot not stay at a hut if you have flu or stomach symptoms during your trip 
  • Always wash your hands carefully with soap before you enter the hut and after visiting the hut 
  • Do not wash up or wash yourself directly in a lake or a river or on top of a well. Pour your washing water into the ground at a sufficient distance from the water body. 
  • Use hand disinfectant 
  • If you feel the need to cough or sneeze, cough in your sleeve or in a disposable tissue. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose 
  • Always keep a sufficient safety distance between yourself and other customers also in day trip huts and at other campsites  
  • If possible, bring your own drinking water  
  • Bring your own toilet paper 
  • Never fill your own water bottle on top of the hut water container 

Please note, that Metsähallitus is not able to carry out deep cleaning in the huts. Also, there is no cleaning between bookings. No hand disinfectant is available in the huts, so pack your own soap and hand disinfectant.  

At the End of Your Stay:

  • Wipe all surfaces at the end of your stay (handles, surfaces) 
  • If you have had flu symptoms during your stay, contact the nearest customer service point 
  • If you are diagnosed with corona virus after the end of your stay, contact the nearest Metsähallitus customer service point 

Remember to Follow Outdoor etiquette  

According to the recommendations of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, each citizen should assess their own behaviour and the associated risk to themselves and others.

Hikers should avoid all kinds of crowded rest areas, but they also should not go too far into the wild, as it may be difficult to then return if they fall ill.  

All aspects of outdoor etiquette are particularly important: Hikers should strictly avoid all crowded rest sites, and they should not go hiking far into the terrain either. Authorities’ hygiene instructions must be followed in nature as well: always maintain a safe distance to other hikers and remember good hand hygiene. You should keep your distance to others at any and all rest stops. Also, it is important to remember good hygiene in the washroom facilities of hiking destinations.

When there is a grass or forest fire warning, lighting campfires is prohibited. Metsähallitus recommends no to make fire. Gathering at the campfire sites increases the risk of coronavirus infection.