Wednesday December 08, 2021

Rising COVID prompts President to cancel Independence Day party

Published : 25 Nov 2021, 21:31

Updated : 25 Nov 2021, 21:39

  DF Report

President Sauli Niinistö and First Lady Jenni Haukio were dancing during the Independence Day reception at the presidential palace on December 6, 2019. File Photo President Office by Antti Nikkanen.

The traditional Independence Day reception party at the Presidential Palace scheduled for 6 December and hosted by President Sauli Niinistö and first lady Jenni Haukio has been cancelled against the backdrop of increasing number of coronavirus infections in the country.

The President Office in a statement issued on Thursday said that the celebrations have been cancelled following the rapid deterioration of the coronavirus situation in Finland.

According to the statement, restrictions have tightened since last week and it is anticipated that they will tighten further.

“Due to the combined impact of the deteriorating situation with COVID in recent days and the COVID-19 passport regulations, we have unfortunately had to cancel the reception at the Presidential Palace on 6 December 2021. The event for war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd has also been cancelled for health security reasons,” said the statement.

Throughout the pandemic, the Office of the President has observed in its activities particular caution as well as the existing coronavirus restrictions and recommendations, said the statement, adding, “unfortunately, there is a gap in the law that prevents requiring and checking COVID-19 passports at official public sector events, such as the Independence Day Reception.”

The President Office extended deepest apologies to those invited to the reception and the veterans’ event for the cancellation of the events.

The people, who were invited to Independence Day Reception this year will also receive an invitation to the reception to be held at the Presidential Palace on 6 December 2022.

A separate event for veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd will be arranged when the pandemic situation permits.

Personal letters of apology will also be sent to all those who were invited to this year’s events, said the statement.

Earlier on 17 November, the President and first lady announced to invite people who have worked for the good of health and Finnish society during the coronavirus pandemic to the traditional Independence Day reception party at the Presidential Palace this year.

The President Office that time decided to organise the reception party in a small scale and invited a total of about 200 people.

The celebration normally takes place with several hundreds of people ( in between 1500 and 2000) every year.

Last year, instead of the traditional reception attended by invited guests, the President couple welcomed all the Finns to celebrate the Independence Day in different locations remotely against the backdrop of coronavirus situation.