Restaurant restrictions eased — restrictions on use of COVID-19 passport extended
The Government has amended the decree that restricts the activities of food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. This means that the opening and licensing hours of all food and beverage service businesses will be extended. In addition, the restrictions on the use of the COVID-19 passport will continue until the end of February.
The amendments will enter into force on 14 February 2022. If the situation continues to develop favourably and there is no risk of exceeding the capacity of the healthcare system, restaurant restrictions could be lifted completely as of 1 March for all food and beverage service businesses.
Until 28 February 2022, COVID-19 passport cannot be used as an alternative to restrictions
The Government has updated the decree on temporary restrictions to the use of the COVID-19 passport issued under section 58i of the Communicable Diseases Act. In practice, this means that until 28 February 2022 the COVID-19 passport cannot be used as an alternative to regional restrictions on public events and customer premises.
The decree will apply to all public events and customer premises subject to existing restrictions. Regional authorities will decide what restrictions are in place in their areas. The decree will apply to the areas of the hospital districts that meet the characteristics of community transmission areas.
Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in community transmission areas from 14 February at 00.00
Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses that are necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic will be in place in all community transmission areas.
The restrictions for community transmission areas will apply to the regions of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kainuu, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, North Karelia, Central Finland, Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, South Savo, North Savo and Åland.
Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 23.00. Such businesses may keep their premises open to food and beverage service customers until midnight. The restrictions on opening and licensing hours will be eased for all food and beverage service businesses.
Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have only half the normal number of customer seats in use in their indoor and outdoor premises. Other food and beverage service businesses may seat 75 per cent of their normal number of customers inside their establishments. The restrictions on the number of customer seats do not apply in Åland.
All customers must have their own seats at a table or similar in indoor premises.
Businesses cannot avoid restrictions by using COVID-19 passport
Using COVID-19 passport does not exempt food and beverage service businesses from the restrictions on the number of customer seats and on the licensing and opening hours.
The restrictions on the use of the COVID-19 passport will be in force until 28 February 2022.
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 does not exempt food and beverage service businesses from the restrictions as before, all food and beverage service businesses in Finland will 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.
The Regional State Administrative Agencies will answer questions concerning the practical implementation of the restrictions.
Questions concerning the My Kanta Pages: My Kanta Pages customer service: [email protected]