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Helsinki performed a second COVID-19 passport trial at the Savoy Theatre – including a quick test opportunity

The City of Helsinki supports the government in promoting the rapid introduction of the COVID-19 passport.  The aim is to make the COVID-19 passport available in limited and non-statutory sectors, such as culture, events and restaurants. For this very reason, the City of Helsinki conducted a second COVID-19 passport trial on Monday 30 August at the Savoy Theatre’s West Side Story musical rehearsal.

The COVID-19 passport trial tested the voluntary use of the COVID-19 passport and quick tests

Upon arrival, the invited guests who took part in the first COVID-19 passport test in the City of Helsinki were to display one of the following three certificates: a certificate of two COVID-19 vaccination doses, a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test from within the last 72 hours or a certificate of having had COVID-19 within the last six months.

The method of conducting the second COVID-19 passport trial in Helsinki was different from the previous trial a week earlier, because, this time, the voluntary use of the COVID-19 passport, in particular, was tested. The COVID-19 certificates of the event guests were technically read in the same manner as in the first trial, but the display of the COVID-19 passport was not mandatory. At the same time, those who came to the event also had the opportunity to voluntarily take a quick COVID-19 test. The City of Helsinki wanted to see how many guests of the event wished to display a valid COVID-19 or take a quick test.

And the results were encouraging, as most of the participants displayed a COVID-19 passport. The COVID-19 quick test was performed on 24 individuals. Everyone was positive about the COVID-19 passport trial. Many members of the public praised the smoothness of the process and welcomed the fact that the COVID-19 passport trial was conducted. Only six people declined to participate in the trial this time. In total, the general rehearsal had nearly 250  spectators.

“The two COVID-19 passport trials implemented by the city so far clearly show that there are no significant technical challenges associated with the introduction of the COVID-19 passport. At the same time, we have found that customers are generally positive about using such a passport to ensure the health safety of their services. We still hope that the epidemic situation will improve as vaccine coverage increases, so that all restrictions can be lifted. However, if this is not the case, a COVID-19 passport would be a necessary and effective way to mitigate the effects of the epidemic on business in the event, restaurant and cultural sectors”, says Jani Moliis, the Director of the Enterprise Services Unit coordinating the COVID-19 passport project in the city.

Helsinki’s first COVID-19 passport trial was considered to be successful based on visitor feedback

The City of Helsinki also collected feedback from participants on the first COVID-19 passport trial. Based on that, too, the COVID-19 passport app tested by the city was considered to be a very well-functioning way to ensure safe entry into events. More than 90% of the respondents stated that the verification of the COVID-19 passport went very well and that each of them would be ready to participate in events in which a COVID-19 passport would be required as a condition of admission.

“Our customers were delighted with the COVID-19 passport trial, which strengthens our belief that the passport would be perfect for theatre use and would enable full halls already now”, says Päivi Loponen-Kyrönseppä, director of Savoy Theatre

The cultural, events and hospitality sectors play a key role as a source of vitality in large cities such as Helsinki. For this reason, the COVID-19 passport would play a major role in opening up society and relaunching tourism. Together with its cultural, hospitality and event sectors, Helsinki has offered the state a partnership in the development and piloting of the COVID-19 passport. The passport will be developed in partnership with the government and the sector’s businesses and will draw on solutions from other EU countries.

The City of Helsinki will continue to test and utilise the possibilities for using the COVID-19 passport in its own operations, so that it can be adopted more widely and quickly.