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Finland sticks to masks. Photo credit: Zack Vessels

Nordic nations drop mask requirement

In all Nordic countries except Finland, requirements or recommendations for masks in public transport have now been abolished.

Published: August 18, 2021, 2:00 pm

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    Helsinki

     

    Denmark

    As of Saturday, the requirement for masks in public transport in Denmark will be abolished. According to the Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht from the Social Democrats, the requirement, which had been in force for a year, is based on the fact that more and more people have now been vaccinated. From now on, masks will only be  required on flights or during doctor’s visits.

    Norway

    In Norway, the national restriction on masks was abolished as early as April. Since then, several local restrictions on masks have been lifted, including in Oslo’s public transport.

    Sweden

    In Sweden, masks in public transport have never been a requirement, and they have always only been used to a very small extent. The Swedish Public Health Agency previously recommended protection if distance could not be maintained during rush hour traffic, but this was not really followed.

    Finland

    The only country in the Nordic region that still has a mask requirement or recommendation in public transport is Finland.

    “Developments in Finland are in stark contrast to our neighboring countries, and we Finns deserve a proper debate on this. When and where can we abolish the mask? And why do we view the matter so differently than the rest of the Nordic region? ” the Hufvudstadsbladet demanded in an editorial.

    “It can hardly be an end in itself to maintain that recommendation forever. Sometimes you have to be able to work and socialize without protection. The mask recommendation must not become a moral duty but must be a necessity, based on facts.”

    Eight out of nine Austrian provinces dropped the mask mandate in non-essential shops a few weeks ago. Vienna listened to “the experts” and kept it, one Twitter user noted. A graph of infection rates in the country however, showed that masks made zero difference. Apparently, this fact has escaped Australians too.

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