Wednesday 5/12/21
REOPENING

Government eases restaurant restrictions in five Finnish regions

The customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces.
Customers enjoying a terrace on 19 April, the day of the reopening of restaurants in Helsinki. Photo: Foreigner.fi.
Customers enjoying a terrace on 19 April, the day of the reopening of restaurants in Helsinki. Photo: Foreigner.fi.

The government decided on Thursday to relax the restrictions imposed on restaurants concerning the opening hours and sale of alcohol in five Finnish regions, in view of the improvement in the situation of the coronavirus epidemic.

According to government information, the cabinet led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) amended the decree restriction the activities of restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs. The changes will enter into force on Friday 23 April at 00:00.

The amendment to the decree will ease the restrictions in the region of Central Finland and the Hospital District of South Savo, allowing these areas to move down to restrictions imposed on areas at a stable level.

In the regions of Satakunta, Kanta-Häme and Ostrobothnia, the restrictions on the opening and licensing hours will be eased also. This is done by adding a new third tier, an intermediate tier, to the current two-tier restrictions system. The restrictions in place in other areas will remain unchanged.

The restrictions were now reviewed for the first time since the Government issued its previous decree on the restrictions on 19 April. The restrictions are reviewed weekly.

Three different tiers

The restriction map is therefore configured in three different tiers, which affect restaurants depending on their geographical location.

TIER 1

This scenario applies to the regions of Åland, South Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, North Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland and the Hospital District of South Savo.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use half the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. In other restaurants, 75% of customer seats may be in use in indoor premises. 

Restaurants may serve alcoholic beverages until 22:00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 23:00.

In these regions, restaurants must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. Dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited in indoor premises.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances.

The customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces. 

TIER 2

This scenario applies to the regions of Kanta-Häme, Satakunta and Ostrobothnia.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one third of the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may serve alcohol until 18.00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 19:00. Other restaurants may serve alcohol until 19:00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 20:00.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances.

The customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces.

TIER 3

This scenario applies to the regions of Helsinki-Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia and the Hospital District of East Savo.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one third of the normal number of seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

They may serve alcoholic beverages between 7:00 and 17:00.  Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 5:00 and 18:00. Other restaurants may be open to customers between 5:00 and 19:00.

The restaurants located in these regions must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. This means that dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances.

The above-mentioned customer seating restrictions and ‘dance ban’ do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Exceptions to restrictions

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.

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