The state of emergency is affecting almost everything – except the community spirit among Finnish people

It’s lunch time. On a normal Monday, Hämeenkatu would be almost blocked by people zigzagging among construction site barriers, but today Tampere’s main street resembles a ghost town.

Finnish people’s lives were completely changed a week ago when the government announced emergency measures due to the coronavirus epidemic. Schools and borders were closed for the first time since WWII, and people were urged to avoid social gatherings and travel. Hobbies, gigs, festivals and many sporting events have also been cancelled indefinitely.

The world changed in an instant, and we can only guess at the magnitude of the changes that will follow.

We are also closely monitoring the situation with the UROS LIVE arena team. So far, the state of emergency has not significantly affected the operations of the arena under construction. Office tasks are handled from home, which is made easier by the fact that we can order lunch directly from local entrepreneurs.

Our biggest concern now is the people involved in the operations of the future arena. Those whose hard work and skills make the creation of experiences possible are being hit particularly hard: artists, restaurants and hotels, event organisers, sports clubs, builders – and many more. I hope that decision-makers, entrepreneurs, shareholders, insurance companies, financial institutions and landlords can find a common ground and are able to work together to avoid unnecessary bankruptcies and large-scale unemployment.

The past week has also given us a reason to reflect on the values and culture of our new company. The crisis makes it crystal clear that when we are faced with the choice, values must take precedence over economic interests.

It has given me great joy to see how much empathy, stamina and everyday creativity people have in these changed circumstances and times of insecurity.

Orvokki Hyytinen challenged everyone in Finland to play Darude’s hit song Sandstorm from their balconies. Ilves’ junior league ice hockey players have continued to practice remotely now that they are not allowed to meet up. With no access to a rink, a staircase in a block of flats serves as a good practice ground.

A great example of community spirit is the Keikalla.fi service set up by our partner Lippu.fi, Rockway and the Finnish Musicians’ Union, which allows people to watch their favourite artists live from their sofa. Perhaps the new situation will also provide us with many new ways to enjoy experiences.

Although we have to be physically separated from each other, the exceptional circumstances have also created an unprecedented atmosphere of communality and fighting spirit. This spirit is very much like the feeling shared during a sing-along at a gig or by stands full of fans just before the crucial minutes of a match. I’m now even more convinced that we humans have a need to gather together to share a variety of experiences.

I’m looking forward to better times.

Marko Hurme, CEO, UROS LIVE