Coming To Visit Lapland During The Restrictions- Why? Is It Really That Necessary?

Arctic sunset in Nuorgam Utsjoki Finland By Jasim Sarker

Recently I’ve been kinda angry, sad and frustrated about the COVID-19 restrictions in Finland. Now when Finnish people can’t go to have their vacation abroad, they’re seeing Sápmi as more attractive and exotic place than ever. These restrictions allow people to travel on holiday from “covid centers” like Helsinki to Sápmi, where there are little corona infestations. Almost NONE. All in the Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish side of Sápmi.

And at the same time in Sápmi, people can’t even meet their families when they’re not allowed to cross the border – for example from Finland to Norway to the nearest village. In Sápmi, people work in another country and pass across the border every day, and it’s super normal. You can go to work across the border under certain strict conditions, but not just have a visit your family members. And there are plenty of families like this.

Aurora in Inari- Utsjoki area in Lapland- The northern lights and arctic nights By Jasim Sarker- Visit Lapland
For example, from the Finnish village where I come from, the distance between the nearest Norwegian village is only 2 miles. Me and my family went to Norway at least four times a week, because me and my siblings had our dance and fine arts classes. Otherwise free-time activities would have been limited to just a floating-club, so having Norwegian village nearby was my joy and saviour. But now, almost for a year my two youngest siblings haven’t been able to go dance classes anymore and meet their friends. They haven’t had any free time activities for a year.

Nowadays I live in Helsinki, where there are most corona infections in Finland. From my own perspective it would seem super irresponsible to travel home and see my family without keeping a proper quarantine. Luckily I had a long christmas vacation, so I was able to visit home and have a quarantine before seeing my family. It feels unbelievable that still people travel north for the holiday and it’s OK and legal….

As an individual people, we have a big responsibility, but of all I am most annoyed by these restrictions made by the government that allow all this. It would be rather a much more sensible solution to isolate Uusimaa than to limit the passage between border villages where corona almost doesn’t exist.

If you’re planning to have your vacation to a smaller place, like Sápmi, I’m asking you: why? Is it really that necessary? Or do you have an option to not meet any local people during the trip, to not go to the grocery store and so on? Do you have an option to have a quarantine there? If not, I hope you’ll find a more responsible way to enjoy your vacation.

Opinion|By Máret-Ásllat Ivvár-Ovllá Nilla Pinja / IG: Pinja Pieski

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