Sunday 3/7/21
CORONAVIRUS

Finland restricts opening hours for crossing border points

New restrictions will apply from 15 February at certain border crossings with Norway, Sweden and Russia.

Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo with Border Guard officers at the Finnish-Swedish border in Lapland. Photo: Border Guard/@rajavartijat/Twitter.
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo with border guard officers at the Finnish-Swedish border in Lapland. Photo: Border Guard/@rajavartijat/Twitter.

On 11 February, the Government decided to change certain entry restrictions, which will take effect from 15 February with the aim to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

Because the coronavirus situation in Iceland has improved, the government will no longer restrict entry from Iceland. In contrast, entry restrictions will again apply to residents of Rwanda arriving from Rwanda.

In addition, the opening hours of certain border crossing points on the western border in Lapland and the eastern border will be limited. The restrictions will remain in force until 25 February.

From Monday 15 February, the opening hours of border crossing points on the Finnish-Norwegian border and on the Finnish-Swedish border in Karesuvanto, Kolari, Muonio and Pello will be limited. The border crossing points on the Finnish-Norwegian border will be open at 9.00–21.00. The border crossing points on the Finnish-Swedish border in Karesuvanto, Kolari, Muonio and Pello will be open at 7.00–21.00. The limited opening hours do not apply to goods transport or to necessary passenger traffic with a justified reason to cross the border outside the opening hours. Other border crossing points will remain open around the clock.

From Friday 19 February, the opening hours of border crossing points on the Finnish-Russian border in Niirala, Nuijamaa and Vaalimaa will be limited. The limited opening hours do not apply to goods transport or to persons with an urgent and necessary reason to cross the border outside the opening hours.

Decisions to opening hours are made by the head of the administrative unit of the Border Guard after consulting the local and regional health authorities and, where appropriate, other authorities. Regional border guard authorities will provide more detailed information on the opening hours of border crossing points.

Reduce cross-border traffic

The new restrictions aim to reduce cross-border traffic in order to prevent the spread of the new Covid-19 variants. According to the Ministry of the Interior, "there are no other adequate measures available yet to replace internal border controls."

The objective of the health authorities is to guide all people crossing the Finnish border to a Covid-19 test, unless they can present proof of a sufficiently recent negative test, proof of recovery from disease or proof of vaccination.

By restricting the opening hours to day and evening times, health authorities can be present at border crossing points and reach all of those crossing the border. Because the restrictions on opening hours will not apply to goods transport or urgent and necessary passenger traffic, the restrictions are not expected to have a significant negative impact on the functioning of society.

"Restrictions to traffic at border crossing points do not intervene in the freedom of movement enshrined in the Constitution, according to which Finnish citizens must not be prevented from entering the country.  However, entry to Finland is allowed only through open border crossing points." the Ministry of the Interior says.

Everyone also has the right to leave the country, unless their right to travel has been prohibited due to a travel ban or otherwise legally restricted.

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