Impact of the COVID-19 crisis and sustainable recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive global health, social and economic crisis. The crisis has hit Helsinki harder than the rest of Finland. Around 40% of the country’s COVID-19 infections and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in Helsinki. The unemployment rate has grown clearly higher than in the previous year.

In response to the uncertainty of the environment, Helsinki is building and implementing recovery planning, the key content of which is to ensure the implementation of the city’s strategy such that the measures particularly serve recovery from the crisis.

Helsinki aims to minimise direct damage, create the conditions for new growth and ensure that Helsinki is the most functional city in the world even after the COVID-19 crisis. The three main themes for recovery:

  1. Citizens’ activity and trust
  2. Boosting enterprises and entrepreneurship
  3. Evolving and sustainable city organisation

The elderly and young people felt their quality of life had deteriorated

The exceptional circumstances and financial difficulties have put a great deal of strain on Helsinki residents in all population groups. Inequalities between population groups in Helsinki are already greater than elsewhere in the country, and the inequalities have become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prevailing exceptional circumstances have complicated the situation of already disadvantaged groups (such as children who need help, the elderly, those in a weak position in the labour market, the economically weak) in many ways. Women have also been put under more strain.

Especially the elderly and young people in Helsinki felt their quality of life had deteriorated as a result of the COVID-19 crisis in spring 2020. The number of unemployed people and households receiving basic income support and general housing allowance in particular are higher in Helsinki than in the previous year, and the prolongation of these circumstances may have various multiplier effects on health, quality of life, lifestyles and well-being.

The COVID-19 crisis also causes a risk of learning deficiencies and social exclusion for school-age children.

COVID-19 created new ways to promote well-being

In addition, care and services are lagging behind due to the pandemic. For example, services in basic health care have been put on hold. The potential impact of this break on well-being and health may be seen in the coming years.

In the work to promote well-being and health, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of the measures in the welfare plan to progress more slowly than planned, or not at all. On the other hand, new ways to help and promote the well-being, health and safety of the city residents emerged in the spring.

Good examples of this are Helsinki help for the elderly, increased guidance and counselling for families with children, the transition of cultural and physical activity services to digital services, and the transfer of the work input of the city’s employees to various telephone services. (Source: Health and Welfare Barometer)

Helsinki is striving for green and innovative recovery. The aim is to target the recovery funding in such a way as to accelerate green economic restructuring and the digital transition and to support the development of innovative and more efficient public services.

Relationship of Helsinki’s COVID-19 crisis recovery plan to the SDGs.

Relationship of Helsinki’s COVID-19 crisis recovery plan to the SDGs. Matrix where certain SDG goals have been matched with goals of the recovery programme.
Relationship of Helsinki’s COVID-19 crisis recovery plan to the SDGs.