Hygiene and capacity measures designed to keep travel safe now compulsory for transport service providers -
Amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act will see transport service pro-viders obligated to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The amendments entered into force on 22 February, with the new requirements scheduled to ap-ply until 30 June 2021.
The new rules make combating the coronavirus mandatory under the law for transport operators, which had previously acted voluntarily in accordance with recommendations. The aim is to protect citizens’ health and reduce the risk of transmission. Common rules help ensure that travelling is safe and safeguard the functioning of the transport system.
The obligations apply to passenger transport providers such as bus, taxi and rail operators, shipping companies and other waterway passenger transport operators, airlines and public transport providers as well as other passenger transport operators irrespective of the number of passengers transported. Ports, airports and passenger terminals are also required to observe the rules.
We would like to thank transport operators for the many health security measures they have already taken on a voluntary basis. By further reinforcing these actions, we can increase customers’ trust in transport services.
Measures made compulsory under the Communicable Diseases Act
- Customers must be provided with adequate facilities to maintain the necessary level of hygiene, including hand hygiene. For example, hand sanitiser must be made available.
- Operators must advise customers on ways to prevent transmission, including social distancing, hand washing, and using face masks.
- Spaces and surfaces used by customers and passengers must be cleaned more frequently, and effective ventilation ensured.
- In order to protect customers on the transport network, social distancing must be enabled while taking into account the particular characteristics of each space or means of transport. Operators are advised to utilise the recommendations issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
- Measures must be taken to ensure that passengers can maintain the necessary distance from each other when boarding or alighting.
The obligations apply to means of transport, stations, terminals and other comparable indoor areas as well as delimited outdoor areas used for boarding or alighting.
The implementation of the measures is enforced by municipalities, Regional State Administrative Agencies and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. Customers are advised that the primary point of contact for reports of inadequate hygiene or capacity measures should be the service provider itself.
Repeated deficiencies can be reported to Traficom. If the measures related to hygiene, capacity and passenger flow control are not sufficient, Traficom may, as a measure of last resort, limit the maximum permitted number of passengers in transports of more than ten passengers, if this is considered necessary in light of the situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus.
Plan for passenger flow control required — Traficom working on additional guidance
Under the Communicable Diseases Act, transport service providers are required to put forward a written plan for controlling passenger flows, which must be included as part of their contingency plans. The plan (excluding any personal data it contains) must be placed so that it is accessible to customers, and presented to the municipality, Regional State Administrative Agency or Traficom upon request.
Traficom is currently working on guidance regarding the plan, and will provide transport operators with instructions on how it should be prepared as soon as possible.
Links to instructions and recommendations issued by authorities
- Recommendation on the use of face masks for citizens (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare) (External link)
- GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF THE COVID-19 INFECTIOUS DISEASE IN PASSENGER TRAFFIC IN THE LOGISTICS INDUSTRY (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health) (External link)
- GUIDELINES FOR THE PREVENTION OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFECTIONS IN PORTS (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health) (External link)
- CLEANING GUIDELINES FOR THE PREVENTION OF COVID-19 INFECTIONS (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health) (External link)
- Guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 infections in public transport (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, available in Finnish) (External link)
- Guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the prevention of coronavirus (External link)
- Guidelines for the safe reopening of domestic tourism in Finland (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment) (External link)
- GUIDELINES FOR WORKPLACES TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS INFECTION (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health) (External link)
- Guidelines for improved hand hygiene (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare) (External link)
- Guidelines issued by the Finnish Tax Administration (External link)
- Traficom’s coronavirus-related guidelines and press releases (External link)
- Traficom’s recommendations for transport service providers (2020) (External link)
- Guidelines for school transport (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, available in Finnish) (External link)
- Recommendation for transport operators and shipping companies on preventing the spread in Finland of the coronavirus variants identified in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, available in Finnish) (External link)
Road traffic: Mikko Västilä, Chief Specialist, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 5584. Pasi Hautalahti, Team Leader, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 534 6503
Public transport: Meeri Niinisalo, Legal Counsel, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 6514
Rail transport: Jouko Pirttimäki, Senior Inspector, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 534 6834
Aviation: Johan Skjäl, Chief Specialist, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 6115 (from 22 to 28 February Jari Latvala, Senior Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 534 7004)
Ports, maritime and other waterway transport: Matti Aaltonen, Chief Specialist, email@example.com, tel. +358 29 534 6701