Coronavirus Seafarers’ unions and shipping company call on government to open commuter traffic: “Construction workers have been separated from their families for months”

On Thursday, the government decided to allow work-related travel in air traffic between Finland and other EU or Schengen countries, but not in water traffic.

In shipping companies It has already been expected that business travel by water could be fully opened, says Tallink Silja’s Senior Vice President, Communications. Marika Nöjd.

Finland’s travel restrictions became a topic of discussion on Friday when the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas criticizes Finland’s strict restrictions on the ambassador To Timo Kantola.

The allegations relate to the Finnish government’s decision on Thursday to extend the travel restrictions until 27 June. The government decided to allow work-related travel between Finland and other EU or Schengen countries in air transport, but not in water transport.

In waterborne transport and at land borders, entry on the basis of employment is still limited to what is necessary. The situation poses challenges for Estonians who regularly work in Finland, for example.

Read more: Estonian Prime Minister criticizes Finland’s restrictions on ambassador: You can get to work by plane, but not by ship

The seafarers’ unions also share the criticism of the Estonian Prime Minister and call on the government to lift restrictions on commuting.

A bulletin published by seafarers’ associations reminds us that in addition to corona testing, the spacious spaces of ships also contribute to safe travel.

“It is possible for a passenger to spend a boat trip even in their own cabin, which is by no means possible on an airplane”, President of the Finnish Seamen’s Union Kenneth Bondas says in a press release.

Bridge At present, shipping companies check the result of the coronavirus test of all passengers coming to Finland from abroad in the country of departure.

“We have built a workable process, now it should be able to be utilized. Commuting would be a good effort to test this approach before leisure passenger traffic is sometimes opened, ”Nöjd suggests.

All passengers arriving in Finland from abroad must have either a negative corona test result not exceeding 72 hours old or a medical certificate of coronavirus disease during the previous six months when boarding the ship.

In addition, upon arrival in Finland, the passenger must have a completed Finentry personal information form in advance or go to the port health counseling, as part of which a coronavirus test will be performed if necessary.

According to Nöjd, opening up commuting to everyone on an equal footing would also be fair.

“Is a builder, for example, less important than any other commuter? There are thousands of Estonian construction workers in Finland who have been separated from their families for months due to restrictions, ”he says.

Read more: Estonian PM praises Finland’s new travel restrictions unequal – This is how entry restrictions will change on Monday

Construction workers Staying in Finland for the duration of construction projects has proved to be a good practice for the reliability of construction companies.

As a result, strict travel restrictions have so far not caused significant problems with the availability of labor at the construction company YIT, says the company’s communications director. Hanna Malmivaara.

Nevertheless, the construction company YIT also hopes that shipping can be opened in a controlled and safe manner to commuters as soon as possible.

“From the perspective of the construction company’s operations, labor has been well available. However, I would emphasize that from a human point of view, it would also be important to think about the fact that many employees have had to be separated from their relatives and loved ones for long periods of time. ”

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