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Government issues decree restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
26.2.2021 11.41 | Published in English on 2.3.2021 at 12.50
Press release 48/2021

The Government has issued a new decree restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses, namely restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs, owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. Food and beverage service businesses must ensure sufficient distances between customers and customer groups more effectively than before. They must arrange their activities in indoor spaces in such a way that customers are guided to their seats. The new restrictions also mean that restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses may not organise or allow dancing or permit customers to perform at a karaoke stage, for example.

Other restrictions on the numbers of customers and the opening and licencing hours have been updated for different regions. The decree will enter into force on 1 March and remain in force until 30 June 2021. However, section 3, subsection 4 of the decree, under which customers must be guided to their seats, will be applied as from Friday 5 March 2021. The Regional State Administrative Agencies will be responsible for the practical application of the decree.

All customers must have their own seats and avoid all unnecessary movement 
Food and beverage service businesses must continue to ensure that there is no unnecessary congestion in their premises and that customers and parties can enter the premises while maintaining a safe distance from one another. As before, all customers must have a seat at a table or similar.

The decree also imposes a new obligation on all food and beverage service businesses to arrange their activities in indoor spaces in such a way that customers are guided to their seats. Restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses must draw up and provide their customers with instructions on how to enter or leave the premises or access the area designated for smoking or the toilets and washing facilities and how to collect their takeaway orders of food and drinks . This means that restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses may not organise or allow dancing or permit customers to perform at a karaoke stage, for example.    

Restrictions on the numbers of customers by region

In the regions of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, South Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland, South Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu or Lapland, food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages will not be allowed to seat more than half of their normal number of customers at the same time. Other food and beverage service businesses in these regions will be allowed to seat no more that three quarters of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

In the new decree, the regions covered by the restrictions will now also include Satakunta.

Restrictions on licencing and opening hours by region

In the regions of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia or Åland, food and beverage service businesses will be allowed to serve alcohol between 7.00 and 22.00. They may be open to customers between 5.00 and 23.00. Unlike before, these restrictions will now also apply to Satakunta and Åland.

In the regions of Pirkanmaa, South Karelia, South Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland, South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu or Lapland, food and beverage service businesses will be allowed to serve alcohol between 7.00 and 22. Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 24.00 and 23.00. Other food and beverage service businesses may be open between 1.00 and 24.00.

Food and beverage service businesses in the [email protected] of North Savo may continue to serve alcohol between 7.00 and 24.00. They may be open to customers between 2.00 and 1.00.

Inquiries:

Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, email [email protected]

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