Guidelines Concerning Coronavirus COVID-19

April 1, 2021 2:50 pm

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

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.

In Nature Centres, maximum occupancy can exceed 6 people, however, groups of more than six people are not allowed to gather. 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.   

Events and Guided Tours

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. 

Previously agreed events/guided outdoor tours can be arranged outdoors if all instructions and safety regulations are followed and the region-specific situation allows it. 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.

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. You can cancel your booking for free and get a full refund before the due date until 31 December 2021. 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.