Thursday. 23.05.2024

Finland extends its measures taken under the state of emergency to deal with the coronavirus epidemic (koronavirus, in Finnish).

In order to prevent the spread of the virus, restaurants, cafés and licensed premises will be closed to customers "as soon as possible," says the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in a press release.

On Tuesday 24 March, the Government submitted this proposal to Parliament (Eduskunta) together with the closure of the Uusimaa region. The Parliament is expected to bring the matter into discussion immediately. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment emphasized that the purpose of these actions "is to protect the population and to safeguard the functioning of society."

These restrictions will remain in force until 31 May 2020.

However, meals may be sold to customers for takeaway. Customers themselves or a food courier are allowed to pick up prepared meals from the restaurant, or the restaurant can deliver meals directly to customers.

The order to close restaurants to customers does not apply to restaurants that are not open to the public, such as personnel canteens or student canteens in educational institutions.

Support for businesses

There are also news for entrepreneurs facing financial difficulties.

They are advised to first contact their own bank and other financing providers. Due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, banks are prepared to discuss arrangements such as loan repayment holidays and repayment rescheduling. Actions taken by the central government make banks better equipped to provide financing to companies.

Companies can apply for support from Business Finland, which made two new financial services available on 19 March 2020 to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. These services are intended for SMEs and midcaps operating in Finland whose business is suffering from the coronavirus situation.

Tourism companies

Financial services are intended for tourism and auxiliary tourism services, but also for creative and performing industries and all sectors where subcontracting chains are affected. The funding is intended for companies to explore and tap into new business opportunities in emergency conditions.

In addition, ELY Centres are prepared to support restaurant entrepreneurs in financial distress caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The ELY Centres’ business development projects are therefore targeted especially at helping SMEs in the service sector to prevent and control the effects of the coronavirus.

Government orders restaurants to close but allows take-away orders