Restrictons on public events 

The Government regularly reviews the guidelines for public events and public meetings. We base our assessments on the current epidemiological situation and impact assessments both nationally and regionally. 

The restrictions will be lifted according to the Government Resolution on a plan for a hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 crisis, which was issued on 6 May 2020. 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) continuously produces situational assessments to monitor the effectiveness of the Government’s hybrid strategy. 

If the development of the epidemic takes an unfavourable turn, we will review the plan and Resolution for lifting the restrictions.

Regional State Administrative Agencies decide on restrictions on public meetings and public events in their own region. These decisions set general restrictions on holding events for a maximum of one month at a time. The authorities do not have the competence to decide on exceptions to the restrictions in individual cases.

Municipalities can make such decisions for their own area if the need to do so would exceptionally concern only the territory of one municipality.

The Government and Regional State Administrative Agencies emphasise that in their activities, all parties must take into account the general guidelines on hygiene and other arrangements to prevent the spread of the virus. This also applies to activities and events that are not subject to the restrictions on public events issued by the Regional State Administrative Agencies. 

Restrictions in effect in June

Until 30 June 2020, the decision of the Regional State Administrative Agencies is in force, under which: 

  • indoor and outdoor public events with fewer than 50 attendees are allowed
  • indoor and outdoor events with more than 50 but fewer than 500 attendees are permitted, provided that safety can be ensured by promoting good hygiene practices, by maintaining safe distances and by limiting the number of visitors as is recommended by THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture 
  • indoor and outdoor events with more than 500 attendees are prohibited.

Amendments to the restrictions in July

On 16 June 2020, the Regional State Administrative Agencies gave their decisions on holding public meetings and public events between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020. The decisions are based on the Government recommendation issued on 11 June 2020. 
The contents of the decisions correspond to the restrictions in effect in June:

  • indoor and outdoor public events with fewer than 50 attendees are allowed
  • indoor and outdoor events with more than 50 but fewer than 500 attendees are permitted, provided that safety can be ensured by promoting good hygiene practices, by maintaining safe distances and by limiting the number of visitors as is recommended by THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

The difference to the restrictions in effect in June is that in July, outdoor events with more than 500 attendees can be allowed if there are special arrangements for separation. This requires that:

  • there are several sections or marked off areas intended for audiences and that clear buffer zones can be arranged between each of these sections or areas;
  • the attendees can have their own seat or be accommodated in the separate sections or marked off areas of fewer than 500 persons. These sections or areas have to have separate access routes, services (including any food and beverage services and sanitary facilities) and event staff;  
  • the safety of the attendees can be ensured by complying with the earlier guidelines issued on 14 May 2020 by THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture (in Finnish).

Amendments to the restrictions in August

On 17 June 2020, the Government assessed the epidemiological situation and the combined impact of lifting the restrictions based on the information that was available at the time. 

According to the Government’s recommendation, as of 1 August 2020:

  • indoor and outdoor public events with fewer than 500 attendees will be allowed
  • indoor and outdoor events with more than 500 attendees will be permitted, provided that the safety of attendees can be ensured by following the guidelines of THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture concerning good hygiene practices, safe distances and limiting the number of visitors and, if necessary, by separating activities and attendees into smaller sections
  • event organisers can use discretion in determining arrangements for moving between sections, the maximum number of attendees allowed in the event area and the need for separating activities in such a way that would, in reality, allow the guidelines mentioned above to be followed. In these cases, it might be necessary to provide separate or staggered access routes, services (including food and beverage services and sanitary facilities) and event staff for each of the sections.

Based on their discretion, the Regional State Administrative Agencies will decide on the matter in July for a maximum of one month at a time.

Amendments to the restrictions in October

According to the Government’s current assessment, the remaining restrictions on public events could be lifted as of 1 October 2020 if the development of the epidemic continues in the current direction without any significant setbacks. At the beginning of October, the restrictions on gatherings could be lifted and all public events, both indoors and outdoors, could be allowed without any restrictions on the number of attendees. However, the Government still recommends that organizers limit the number of visitors in order to maintain safe distances and ensure good hygiene practices by self-monitoring to prevent the virus from spreading.

As of 1 October 2020, Finland would no longer have restrictions on public events and public meetings under the Communicable Diseases Act. The Government will continuously monitor the situation and decisions will be based on current information.