Government has started to gradually lift the restrictions put in place to mitigate the Covid-19 epidemic and curb the spread of the virus. From 1 June, some measures will be alleviated, including the restrictions on gatherings, the organisation of events and the opening of public spaces.
At the same time, restaurants and cafes are allowed to reopen with certain limitations. Travel within Finland is allowed "as long as health and safety guidelines relating to coronavirus are observed," the Finnish authorities agreed after releasing some conflicting messages last week.
The Government communications department has published a summary on the changes that apply since 1 June.
Gatherings and public events
Public events with a maximum of 50 persons will be allowed as of 1 June. The restrictions apply to public events and public meetings organised indoors and outdoors.
Public meetings include demonstrations and other events that are open to all and that are organised to exercise the right of freedom of assembly. They also include entertainment events, competitions, performances or other similar events that are open to the public. The Government recommends that people comply with guidelines on safe distances and hygiene.
However, the meetings and events referred to in the legislation do not include, for instance, the use of public sports facilities or going to a shopping centre.
The restrictions do not apply to private events, such as private parties or private meetings. The Government recommends, however, that people do not organise private events for more than 50 persons.
Public events and public meetings of more than 50 and a maximum of 500 people in indoor and enclosed outdoor spaces (for example some sports competitions) can be organised under special arrangements.
Public events with more than 500 persons are prohibited until 31 July.
In all these situations, people should remember to keep a distance of 2 metres from other participants and to observe good hand and cough hygiene. Police will monitor compliance with restrictions on gatherings
Libraries, museums, swimming pools
Public premises that have been closed will reopen in a controlled manner starting in the beginning of June.
These include museums, theatres, the National Opera, cultural venues, libraries, mobile libraries, services for customers and researchers at the National Archives, hobby and leisure centres, swimming pools and other sports facilities, youth centres, clubs, organisations’ meeting rooms, rehabilitative work facilities and workshops, among others.
However, there are still some differences: concerts, theatre performances, film showings, festivals and cultural events are considered public events and therefore they are subject to the restrictions on gatherings.
The continuous normal activities of libraries and museums, on the other hand, are not considered public events and are therefore not subject to the restrictions on gatherings. Still, the restrictions on public events do apply to events organised by libraries and museums.
The restrictions on public events do not apply to the normal, continuous activities of swimming pools and sports facilities. The operators of sports halls and sports facilities must assess how the guidelines from the authorities can best be applied to the local conditions in order to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
Camps for children and youth are recommended to operate in restricted groups of up to 50 persons.
Restaurants and cafes
Restaurants and cafes throughout the country are allowed to reopen to customers with certain restrictions.
Businesses serving food or beverages can be open between 6:00 and 23:00. The serving of alcoholic beverages is permitted only between 9:00 and 22:00. The maximum number of customers inside restaurants is limited to 50% of the capacity.
Every customer must have their own seat at a table or counter. Customers are not allowed to serve their own food or drinks. Buffets are not allowed.
Travel within Finland
Travel within Finland is allowed "as long as health and safety guidelines relating to coronavirus are observed."
Government says it is important for tourists and tourism sector operators to be committed to complying with the measures in place to prevent Covid-19 infections.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have drawn up guidelines for the safe reopening of domestic tourism in Finland.
The guidelines will enter into force on 29 May 2020. Tourism companies and tourists are responsible for adhering to the guidelines and for applying them to their activities.