Finnish bars, restaurants and pubs must remain closed for another three weeks in at least 15 regions, where they will not be able to operate during the Easter holiday period.
The Finnish government on Tuesday presented a proposal to Parliament on the continuation of the restaurant closure for another three weeks, until 18 April, under the same conditions as the current closure, which is in effect until 28 March.
“The epidemic situation is still so serious that we are forced to continue the closure of restaurants. This is one of the necessary measures to curb the spread of the epidemic and reduce the number of infections," Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen said.
According to government information, restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses will remain closed to customers in areas where the Covid-19 epidemic situation is the most serious.
In principle, bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs and nightclubs would remain closed to customers in the regions where the epidemic is in the acceleration or community transmission phase.
List of regions
Restaurants must be closed to customers in the following regions:
- Southwest Finland.
- South Karelia.
- South Savo.
- Central Finland.
- South Ostrobothnia.
- North Ostrobothnia.
The following areas are excluded from the closure: North Karelia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Savo. In these regions, food and beverage service business must observe provisions laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and in the regulations issued under it.
Only restaurants that are not open to the public would be exempt from the closures. It will therefore not affect canteens in residential homes for older people or staff restaurants that are not open to other customers, for example.
In regions not affected by the closure, food and beverage service businesses can continue to be open to customers. Businesses that remain open must still comply with the restrictions laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and in the regulations issued under it.
Support for affected businesses
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said it has prepared a support model for the "reasonable compensation of businesses affected by the current closure measures," which is currently under consideration by Parliament and will be implemented as part of business cost support.
“Understandably, this is quite a blow to the restaurant sector, which is already struggling. Parliament is currently discussing our proposal to pay compensation to companies affected by the closure. The compensation will of course cover this extension of the closure,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä said.
Parliament will now consider the Government’s proposal, after which it is intended to enter into force "as soon as possible," the government emphasized.