Thursday 16.07.2020

Some restaurant restrictions will be in force until September

Limitations on capacity and opening hours will remain in force until 13 July, but others will be in effect beyond that date. Full normality won't hit the business until September.

Photo: Maria Fernanda Perez.
Photo: Maria Fernanda Perez.

Restaurants, bars and pubs will no longer be subject to special restrictions and regulations concerning opening hours and capacity derived from measures to face the pandemic from 13 July.

"The restrictions concerning the opening hours, licensing hours and numbers of customers of food and beverage service businesses will be lifted completely from (and including) 13 July 2020," the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced Thursday in a press release.

This means that the opening hours and numbers of customers of restaurants, cafes and bars will no longer be restricted under the Communicable Diseases Act, and licensing hours will be determined in accordance with the Alcohol Act.

However, not all restrictions will be lifted. Other special rules concerning food and beverage service business may continue in force beyond that date "to prevent the risk of infection," the Ministry says.

Provisions on these restrictions will be laid down in a new government decree that will enter into force on Monday 22 June and will remain in force until 31 August 2020.

Continuing restrictions in force

Basically, from 13 July onwards all customers will still be required to have their own seats at the establishments. In addition, food and beverage service businesses must continue to provide their customers with instructions on how to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.

Customers need to be able to wash their hands, and the premises and surfaces of food and beverage service businesses must be kept clean. Food and beverage service businesses will also be responsible for ensuring sufficient physical distances between customers.

Each establishment must display its plan on how to implement these restrictions and obligations in such a way that customers can see it.

Changes in phases

The government wants to implement the changes that lead to a total reopening of the restaurants in phases starting Monday 22 June.

From (and including) Monday 22 June, the permitted opening hours will be between 04.00 and 02.00 and the permitted hours to serve alcohol will be between 09.00 and 01.00. Restaurants cafes and bars will be allowed to seat no more than three quarters of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

Customers will be allowed to serve or dish out their own food or drinks, for example at a buffet table, from 22 June onwards.

As of 13 July, the restrictions on capacity and opening hours will no longer be in force. However, others will be. Full normality will not return to food and beverage service business until September.