Because of the coronavirus, safe distances should be kept even in nature, and thorough hand hygiene should be followed at huts, campfire sites and after using the toilet. Metsähallitus’ policies and guidelines are updated as the general corona guidelines become more specific. Latest guidelines from Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland concerning the Coronavirus COVID-19 are to be found on National Parks webpage. Updates will follow as guidelines concerning the epidemic become clearer and in accordance with health authorities.
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
Nature Centres and Visitor Centres in regions that have entered the acceleration phase or the community spreading phase of the coronavirus epidemic remain mainly closed until December 20, 2020. Restaurants and cafés may stay open. More Information: Check the nature centers’ website for the current situation. 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. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, groups of 15 or more are requested to inform the Nature Centre staff in advance of their visit.
Events and Guided Tours
Decisions regarding guided tours are made locally according to the infection rate. The decision is in force from December 31, 2020, but the situation may change depending on the development of the infection rate. 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
Huts are open normally. Metsähallitus closely monitors the development of the disease. The possibility to cancel reservations free-of-charge will be extended until 2 May 2021.
Instructions for hut accommodation
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
- Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other customers
- 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.
We recommend packing your own accommodation (tent, campfire tent, hammock) whenever you go on an overnight trip.
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.