General obligations for restaurants, bars and cafes during COVID-19 epidemic continue to apply until end of February 2021
The restrictions concerning the activities of food and beverage service businesses, namely restaurants, bars and cafes, were temporarily added to the Communicable Diseases Act, under section 58a, in May. Now the validity of the Act on Temporarily Amending the Communicable Diseases Act and the temporary section will be extended from 1 November 2020 to 28 February 2021. Without the extension, the Act would cease to be valid after October. The President of the Republic approved the Act on 29 October.
As the COVID-19 epidemic continues, the validity of the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act will be extended so that the general obligations regarding the activities of food and beverage service businesses will remain in force after October. Under the Act, the Government may also in the future issue further provisions supplementing the Act on the obligations of food and beverage service businesses in order to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.
In addition, the Government may lay down provisions on the restrictions concerning the opening and licensing hours and numbers of customers of food and beverage service businesses by decree.
Under the Act, the restrictions must be necessary to prevent the spread of a generally hazardous communicable disease in each area and in such food and beverage service establishments that the restrictions concern. What is new in the Act is that 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 distributions stations for liquid fuels.
The Government issued a decree on the restrictions at its extraordinary session on 29 October 2020.
The decree and restrictions are based on the Government’s hybrid strategy, which aims to curb the epidemic effectively while minimising the adverse impact on people, businesses, society and the exercise of fundamental rights.
Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, [email protected]