The Government has submitted a proposal to Parliament on the temporary closure of restaurants, bars, pubs and other food and beverage service businesses for three weeks.
The shutdown will start on 8 March and it remain in force until 28 March. It will apply to all restoration businesses in areas where the Covid-19 epidemic is in the acceleration or community transmission phase.
During that time, meals could still be sold to customers for takeaway and delivery.
The government announced in a press release that, as a matter of urgency, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is preparing a support model for the reasonable compensation of businesses affected by the closure.
The temporary closure of restaurants is one of the measures taken by the Government to prevent the rapid acceleration of the Covid-19 epidemic and to curb the spread of more infections virus variants.
The proposal is based on the Government’s decision to declare a state of emergency in Finland. The Government decided on the state of emergency and the proposal in its meeting on 1 March.
Staff restaurants, the exception
The temporary closure would apply to all food and beverage service businesses in areas where the epidemic is in the acceleration or community transmission phase. Provisions on the regions affected by the closures will be laid down by government decree. The decree will be issued upon the entry into force of the act.
The food and beverage service businesses to be closed down would include cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that are open to the public. The restriction would also affect outdoor terraces.
Restaurants that are not open to the public would be exempt from the closure. It would therefore not affect canteens in residential homes for older people or staff restaurants that are not open to other customers, for example.
Take-out will be allowed
During the closure, restaurants and cafes would still be allowed to sell portions directly to the customer for takeaway or deliver them either themselves or using other service providers.
In regions where the Covid-19 epidemic is at a stable level, food and beverage service businesses could continue to be open to customers.
The classification of regions into the baseline, acceleration and community transmission phases of the epidemic is based on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s action plan for implementing the hybrid strategy to manage Covid-19.
How will the closure proceed?
The Government proposal will now proceed to Parliament for deliberations. Then, the President of the Republic will approve the act and the Government will adopt a decree on the areas to be affected by the closure. The decree will then be submitted to Parliament for an ex post examination.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will provide more information on the entry into force of the act and the support model for businesses as the matter progresses.