Thursday December 09, 2021

Finland imposes stricter coronavirus restrictions

Published : 26 Nov 2021, 02:49

  DF Report

File Photo City of Helsinki by Rebekka Mustonen/Comma Image Oy.

The government on Thursday decided to impose stricter restrictions on restaurants and bars from Sunday while the ongoing restrictions on entry into Finland will be continued until 19 December against the backdrop of worsening coronavirus situation in the country.

The Ministerial Working Group on Health and Social Services discussed the COVID-19 situation in Finland proposed tighter restrictions on food and beverage service businesses, said the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a press release on Thursday.

The tighter restrictions will be introduced in areas in the community transmission phase.

Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses would end at 17.00. Such businesses could keep their premises open to food and beverage service customers from 05.00 to 18.00.

The restaurants using the COVID-19 passport, however, would be exempt from the restrictions.

Food and beverage service businesses that do not serve alcoholic beverages could be open from 05.00 to 01.00 without the use of the COVID-19 passport.

Restaurants serving alcoholic beverages would be allowed to operate normally from 17.00 only by using the COVID-19 passport.

However, fast food restaurants and cafés could be open without the COVID-19 passport, as they are now.

Meanwhile, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru said at a press conference that there was only a single intensive care unit (ICU) bed vacant for COVID-19 cases, reported news agency Xinhua.

She said that all patients would receive care, but scheduled surgeries would have to be delayed to create ICU capacity.

At the country's borders, unvaccinated travelers will continue to be tested upon arrival and will be required to undergo a second test later.

However, Kiuru said that an agreement on the new health controls at the borders had been reached and submitted to parliament.

Earlier this week, she said that there were an estimated 100,000 foreign guest workers in Finland. "They would come back after the holiday season and would have to be tested."

Finland uses a decentralized two-tier approach to decisions on COVID-19. Most restrictions are decided at regional level, while the central cabinet is in charge of restaurant opening hours and border control measures only.

Kiuru said she was not satisfied with the regions' slow decision-making processes, urging them to be more efficient.