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Restrictions on opening hours and serving of alcoholic beverages in food and beverage service businesses – use of COVID-19 passport restricted

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 22.12.2021 16.40 | Published in English on 23.12.2021 at 10.11
Press release 418/2021

The Government has amended the decree restricting the activities of restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. As from 24 December 2021, the use of the COVID-19 passport will be restricted for about three weeks. The restrictions on food and beverage services businesses that are necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic will be introduced in the region of North Savo, while restrictions will be lifted for the Åland Islands.

The decree will enter into force on Friday 24 December at 00.00.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in community transmission areas from 24 December at 00

The restrictions for community transmission areas apply to the regions of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, Central Finland, Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland and North Savo and to the Hospital District of South Savo.

Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 17.00. The premises may be open to food and beverage service customers from 5.00 to 18.00. The restriction will also apply to restaurants that do not serve alcoholic beverages (e.g. cafes and fast food restaurants).

Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have only half of the normal number of customer seats in use in their indoor and outdoor premises. Other food and beverage service businesses are restricted to 75 per cent of their normal number of customer seats indoors.

In indoor premises, all customers must have their own seats at a table or similar.

So far businesses in community transmission areas that have required customers to present a COVID-19 passport have been exempt from these restrictions.

Temporary changes to use of COVID-19 passport as from 24 December at 00

As from Friday 24 December, the use of the COVID-19 passport will be restricted so that, even if the COVID-19 passport is required, serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 21.00 and the premises may be open to food and beverage service customers until 22.

As from Tuesday 28 December, the use of the COVID-19 passport will not exempt food and beverage service businesses from the restrictions, as has been the case so far. Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 17.00. Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages will be required to close at 18.00. Restaurants that mainly serve food may, however, remain open until 20.00, provided that the customers are required to present the COVID-19 passport.

The restrictions on the use of the COVID-19 passport will be in force until 20 January 2022. 

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses elsewhere in Finland from 24 December at 00

There are no separate restrictions on the number of customers or on licensing and opening hours.

The obligation to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance applies in all regions.

Even if the use of the COVID-19 passport will not exempt the businesses from the restrictions as has been the case so far, restaurants still have the right to require customers to present the COVID-19 passport at all hours.

Exceptions to restrictions remain unchanged

The restrictions laid down in the decree do not apply to the activities of staff restaurants or to takeaway sales of food to customers. The restrictions on opening hours do not apply to food and beverage service businesses on vessels and aircraft that operate between Finland and other countries or abroad or to food and beverage service businesses that operate at distribution stations for liquid fuels.

Inquiries:

Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] 

The Regional State Administrative Agencies will answer questions concerning the practical implementation of the restrictions.

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