Crisis communications at Ruka-Kuusamo
The impacts of coronavirus in Ruka-Kuusamo area
Updated on 23.3.2020:
Finland has closed its borders and suspended travel to Finland until 13 April 2020. This applies to everyone except Finnish citizens and foreigners with permanent residence in Finland. Unfortunately, traveling to Finland and Ruka-Kuusamo is not possible at this time.
Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism wants to act responsibly and in anticipation even in difficult situations. We want to do our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus. That is why Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism Board has stated today that tourists are not recommended to travel to the area right now. We are actively monitoring the situation and will inform you as soon as we welcome travelers again. We'll keep posting in social media, so see you there!
Rukakeskus ended the ski season 23.3.2020. Currently there are far fewer customers in the area than normal, but closing the ski resort we aim to ensure that the number of customers does not increase. The difficult decision has been made to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure the well-being of staff and customers. Read more at Ruka Ski Resort web page.
Current information about coronavirus is available by Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Guidelines for travelers by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Covid-19 coronavirus and guidance for travelers to Finland by Visit Finland
Tourism and coronavirus Q&A
Is it safe to travel to Ruka-Kuusamo?
Tourists are not recommended to travel to the area right now. But even in this challenging situation, we serve our customers in the best possible way, of course regarding the personnel and customer safety. We are following the situation and the instructions of the authorities actively.
Are there corona infected persons in Ruka-Kuusamo area?
At the present, Kuusamo is not part of the epidemic area. If there should be infected persons, the amounts will not be announced per location, but as part of the Nothern Ostrobothnia area.
Why did the ski resort close down?
We have acted carefully in accordance with the instructions of the authorities and no new restrictions have yet been imposed on private services. We have taken a lot of steps to improve hygiene and guide our customers. However, we decided to close the ski resort because we want to take our responsibility to prevent the spread of coronavirus and, above all, to ensure the well-being of our staff and our customers. The closure of the ski resort affects dozens of entrepreneurs, hundreds of employees and thousands of customers, so the decision was extremely difficult, but the only right one in this situation.
How does the closure of the ski resort impact ski passes and ski gear rentals that have already been paid for?
Unused lift tickets and rental equipment will be returned to customers. At this stage, however, season passes are not refunded. Please return the equipment you have rented to the rental company where you picked it up. At the same time, you will receive a refund for days that are not used due to the closure of the slopes. You can also contact Rukakeskus by e-mail at email@example.com. Please note that their customer service is currently busy.
Which services are open at the moment?
You can check the opening hours at Ruka.fi or at the own channels of the companies.
Are ski trails and snowmobile routes open in Ruka-Kuusamo?
Maintenance of the ski trails and snowmobile routes continues as usual at the moment. Also snowshoe trails, winter walking trails and tobogganing areas are at open as usual.
Are there after-ski parties or other happenings at the moment?
Based on the guidelines by the authorities, events during the springtime have been postponed or cancelled. Check restaurants' opening hours at their own pages. There will be no after-ski events or bands performing. In restaurants we recommend you to stay within your own group and avoid contacts with others, in order to prevent spreading of the infection.
How can one get to Ruka-Kuusamo area?
Finnair has canceled all flights from Helsinki to Kuusamo from 1.4.2020 onwards. Flights to Kuusamo are valid until the end of March. Flight to Oulu or Rovaniemi and bus to Ruka remains a valid option at the moment. Ruka-Kuusamo area can also be reached also by car, by bus and by train + bus combination.
If I decide to travel to Ruka-Kuusamo area, what should I do?
Tourists are not recommended to travel to the area right now. We've enhanced the level of hygiene and increased communication to customers regading their actions in this exceptional situation in order to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus in Finland and to protect the potential risk groups. This website will be updated regularly. If you deciced to travel, please be aware of your own responsibilities. Follow the recommendations of the Finnish government and instructions given in Kanta.fi (information system for social welfare services in Finland). If you have any - even mild - symptoms of flu, stay at home. When moving around in Ruka-Kuusamo area, please take extra good care of your own personal hygiene as well as for your companions. Stay within your own group and avoid contacts with others. Pay attention to given safety distance.
I live in Finland and I have returned home from abroad and I'm still at home quarantine. Can I travel to Ruka-Kuusamo area?
Tourists are not recommended to travel to the area right now. Finnish government has stated that Finns and permanent residents of Finland returning from abroad are advised to live in conditions that correspond to quarantine for a period of two weeks after their return. This means limiting the freedom of movement of a person potentially exposed to coronavirus to prevent spreading the virus. In quarantine, one must avoid contact with other persons except one's own family. One can go out, but not near other persons. One can not go to work, school, daycare, leisure activities or grocery store due to the risk of contacting other people.
If I decide to postpone my trip, when is a good time to travel?
Ruka-Kuusamo is attractive throughout the year and a dream destination to activce travellers. In summer you can go hiking, biking, paddling, cross-country riding, do yoga, golf or just relax in the beautiful scenery. Ski Resort Ruka opens ski-season in Finland and the first slopes will be open on the 2nd of October. Then you can still hike and bike, so that's a great option to have holiday, too.
Ruka Ski School is now closed. What happens to booked lessons?
Ski School lessons have been stopped from Wednesday morning 18.3.2020 onwards as a precaution for prevanting the spreading of the coronavirus and for protecting the risk groups. Lessons that have already been paid will be refunded, please contact Ruka Ski School.
Will events be canceled?
The Finnish government has issued a recommendation on 12.3.2020 that all events of more than 500 people should be cancelled until the end of May 2020 to prevent the spreading of the Corona virus in Finland. On 13.3.2020, Regional State Administrative Agencies has decided to prohibit all events with over 500 attendees until 12.4.2020.
Based on the official guidelines by the authorities, we have decided to cancel Ruka Ski Pride, Suomen suurin suklaamunajahti, LUMI (Luminous Artist Festival), Ruka Spring Break and Wappulounas. NUTS trail running has been postponed to the beginning of June.
Many of the events will be and have already been rescheduled. See the current situation at our event calendar in Ruka.fi or in social media channels of the events.
What happens to tickets and other services that have already been purchased? Where can one apply for compensations?
Persons having made plans to attend the cancelled events shall contact the organizer or service provider of the event for more information.
How is Ruka Ski Resort prepared for corona?
Recommendations of the Finnish Ski Resort Association for ski resorts and their clients:
Consider others and head to the slopes only completely healthy, stay at home in case you feel unwell. If you have any symptoms associated with Covid-19, call a health center or hospital emergency department. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are high temperature, cough, sore throat, headache, and shortness of breath.
Two people are allowed in the T-bar lifts only when they are related or from the same party. In chair lifts a distance of at least one meter must be kept, or one must travel only with family or members of the same party. In covered chairlifts and the gondola lift travel is only allowed with family or members from the same party.
All rental gear, including helmets and poles, are cleaned with disinfectant after each use. At the moment ski goggles will not be rented.
All ski resorts under Finnish Ski Area Association will carefully follow all the latest guidelines and orders given by the health authorities. Hand disinfectant is available in all places possible. Cleaning is enhanced in all customer and staff areas. Finnish Ski Area Association recommends the Occupational Health Institute’s guidelines for cleaning to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Personnel have been advised to prioritize hygiene. Keyboards and other tools are cleaned regularly.
If necessary, the number of customer seats in restaurants will be reduced. Buffet type meals will be minimized. Ski-busses will reduce the number of customers taken on at once. If necessary, the ski resort will limit the number of ski passes sold to avoid overcrowding.
Purchasing ski passes online in advance is recommended in order to avoid any excess contact.
For the time being, any larger competitions and public events at the ski resort will be cancelled. If necessary, restaurants, cafes, rental shops and other public spaces will be closed.
If the authorities close the ski resort, the remaining share of unused Ski passes and rental equipment will be refunded to customers. In such a situation, customers should be directly in contact with the place of purchase of the ski passes and/or rental equipment. At this stage, season cards or season rentals will no longer be refunded.
Ruka Ski Resort and the Finnish Ski Resort Association actively monitor the situation and act according to the instructions of the authorities.
Marja Mäenpää, Head of Marketing, Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association, tel. +358 40 521 5316, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mats Lindfors, CEO, Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association, tel. +358 40 0747356, email@example.com