From second fiddle to food delivery driver

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 18, 2020 - Duration: 02:17s

From second fiddle to food delivery driver

The city of Helsinki has reassigned hundreds of its employees to help its elderly citizens to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Soraya Ali reports.

From second fiddle to food delivery driver

He was the second violinist at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, used to the bright lights of the stage.

So his new role delivering food to Helsinki's elderly is certainly a change of pace.

This is Teppo Ali-Mattila: (SOUNDBITE) (English) VIOLINIST, TEPPO ALI-MATTILA, SAYING:"I think the hardest is that you start to really miss your colleagues and the connections and the joy of playing together, sharing the music together with the audience.

And I trust it will come back at some point but I really miss it." The orchestra is technically operated by the city, and that makes Ali-Mattila a public worker.

Under a volunteer program, the city of Helsinki has reassigned hundreds of its employees like him to help elderly citizens cope with the coronavirus outbreak -- by delivering food, medicine, or helping out in the health sector.

It also helps avoid having to furlough or lay off people.

Tommi Laitio is Helsinki's director of culture.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CULTURE AND LEISURE AT THE CITY OF HELSINKI, TOMMI LAITIO, SAYING:"A lot of people say that they do want to do this work but it was up to the managers to see if our staff members have work to do now when services are closed.

If they don't, they either take part in this project or then they go and help in let's say social health services.

So the city of Helsinki wants to make sure that we don't have to furlough any people, we don't have to lay off any people so we want to make sure that the people who we have employed have relevant things to do in this time of crisis.

" Finland eased its coronavirus-related restrictions on Wednesday (April 15), lifting the roadblocks in the region around Helsinki.

But with the vulnerable still encouraged to socially distance, Ali-Mattila's new found role will continue to be vital.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) VIOLINIST, TEPPO ALI-MATTILA, SAYING:"Specially for those elderly people who are isolated, who should for their health stay indoors, it can be the only contact, meeting someone face-to-face with this two metre safety distance but anyway and it's a big thing for them and therefore it becomes a big thing for myself as well."

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