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Government amended restrictions on restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses in many regions

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
22.4.2021 14.04
Press release

The Government has amended the decree restricting the activities of restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The amendment to the decree will enter into force on 23 April at 00.00.

On 22 April, the Government reviewed the set of restrictions concerning food and beverage service businesses on the basis of the regional epidemiological situation. The restrictions were now reviewed for the first time since the Government issued its previous decree on the restrictions on 16 April. The restrictions are reviewed weekly. They have been more lenient for the areas where the epidemic is at a stable level than for the areas worst affected by the epidemic.

The amendment to the decree will ease the restrictions in the region of Central Finland and the Hospital District of South Savo, allowing these areas to move down to restrictions imposed on areas at a stable level. In the regions of Satakunta, Kanta-Häme and Ostrobothnia, the restrictions on the opening and licensing hours of food and beverage service businesses will be eased. This is done by adding a new third tier, an intermediate tier, to the current two-tier restrictions system. The restrictions in place in other areas will remain unchanged.

For the restrictions to be eased, it is necessary that the epidemiological situation improves. The aim is to gradually ease the restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in a manner that ensures health security.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Åland, South Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, North Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland and the Hospital District of South Savo from 23 April 2021

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use half the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. In other restaurants, 75 per cent of customer seats may be in use in indoor premises. 

Restaurants may serve alcoholic beverages until 22.00 and be open to customers between 5.00 and 23.00.

In these regions, restaurants must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. This means that dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited in indoor premises.
In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances. The customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces. 

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Kanta-Häme, Satakunta and Ostrobothnia from 23 April

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one third of the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may serve alcohol until 18.00 and be open to customers between 5.00 and 19.00. Other restaurants may serve alcohol until 19.00 and be open to customers between 5.00 and 20.00.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances. The customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia and the Hospital District of East Savo from 23 April 

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one third of the normal number of seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

They may serve alcoholic beverages between 7.00 and 17.00.  Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 5.00 and 18.00. Other restaurants may be open to customers between 5.00 and 19.00.

The restaurants located in these regions must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. This means that dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited.
In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances. The above-mentioned customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces.

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.

Compensation to food and beverage service businesses

Restaurants and other companies that have been shut down by law or order of an authority may be entitled to closure compensation. This new form of compensation applies to small and micro-sized enterprises that employ a maximum of 49 employees. Applications for closure compensation will be accepted from 12 May 2021. Companies can apply for the compensation at the State Treasury.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is currently preparing a proposal to compensate large companies for the closure, but it will require the approval of the European Commission. Closure compensation and compensation for any subsequent restrictions on restaurants will be prepared as part of the fourth application round for business cost support.

Inquiries:

Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser [email protected]

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