Restrictions on food and beverage service business to be further eased
The Government has amended the decree restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The restrictions will be eased as proposed by the Ministerial Working Group on Health and Social Services yesterday. The decree will enter into force on 24 June at 00.00.
In areas where the epidemic is at a stable level, all restrictions on customer numbers and opening and licensing hours will be removed. This means that when the epidemic is at a stable level, the only restrictions in place will be the obligations to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance and the obligation to provide customers their own seats when indoors.
In areas in the acceleration phase, the opening and licensing hours of food and beverage service businesses will be extended.
The regions of Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme will return to baseline restrictions, and the only area that remains in the acceleration phase is the region of Uusimaa.
Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in baseline areas in the regions of Åland, South Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, North Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, Southwest Finland, North Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland, South Savo, Ostrobothnia, Satakunta, South Karelia, Pirkanmaa, Kymenlaakso, Päijät-Häme, Kanta-Häme and Lapland from 24 June
No separate restrictions on numbers of customers, licensing or opening hours.
The obligations to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance will apply:
- The restaurants and other businesses serving food and/or beverages must clearly inform people arriving there that a person with symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection is not allowed to enter the business.
- The businesses must ensure that the customers use the premises in such a way that they are spaced as far apart as possible, and the customer seats are at a sufficient distance from each other.
- The businesses must ensure that the premises and surfaces are cleaned and that the customers are given the opportunity to clean their hands.
- The businesses must draw up a written plan on how to implement the obligations and restrictions laid down for their activities and the use of their indoor and outdoor facilities.
- All customers must have their own seat at a table or similar.
- The seat requirement does not apply to restaurant operations outdoors.
Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in areas in the acceleration phase in the region of Uusimaa as of 24 June
Food and beverage service businesses may serve alcoholic beverages between 7.00 and 00.00 and be open between 5.00 and 1.00.
Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use half the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants may seat 75 per cent of their normal number of customers inside their establishments. As before, all customers must have their own seat by a table or counter when indoors.
On outdoor terraces, a customer no longer must have a seat, but everyone must take care of safe distances. The number of customer seats on outdoor terraces is not limited.
The obligation to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance apply even when the epidemic is in the acceleration phase.
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.
Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, [email protected]