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Restrictions on bars, restaurants to stay until 28 Feb

Published : 29 Oct 2020, 21:57

Updated : 30 Oct 2020, 10:21

  DF Report

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File Photo: VisitFinland by Elina Sirparanta.

The government on Thursday decided that the present restrictions imposed on the activities of food and beverage businesses will remain unchanged until the end of February 2021 to arrest the spread of coronavirus in the country, said the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a press release.

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues, the validity of the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act will be extended so that the general obligations regarding the activities of food and beverage service businesses may remain in force after October.

Under the Act, the government may also in the future issue further provisions supplementing the Act.

The restrictions on opening hours do not apply to food and beverage service businesses on vessels and aircraft that operate between Finland and other countries or abroad or to food and beverage service businesses that operate at distributions stations for liquid fuels.

The government at an extraordinary session held on 29 October 2020 issued a decree on the restrictions, elaborating the restrictions now in force on the number of customers seating in food and beverage service business houses and on the opening and closing hours when alcohol can be served.

In the regions of Uusimaa, southwest Finland, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, and Ostrobothnia, which are currently in the acceleration or community transmission phase of the epidemic, the number of customer seating in the business houses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages is now restricted to half the normal number. These businesses typically include pubs, bars, and nightclubs.

For other food and beverage service businesses in the above-mentioned regions, the number of customers seating is restricted to three-quarters of the normal number. These businesses typically include restaurants, cafes, fast food restaurants and pizzerias. In other parts of Finland, the number of customer seats is not restricted.

In those regions, which are currently in the acceleration or community transmission phase of the epidemic, businesses must stop serving alcoholic beverages by 22:00 at the latest.

All food and beverage service businesses in Ostrobothnia must be closed by 23.00 at the latest. In the other regions listed above, businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages must also be closed at 23:00 but other food and beverage service businesses may remain open until 24:00.

Businesses in other parts of Finland must stop serving alcohol by 24:00 at the latest, as is currently the case. In locations outside the regions, businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverage must close by 1:00 at the latest, but other food and beverage service businesses may be open round the clock.