finnish government, Source: Hallituksen tiedotustilaisuus 29.9.2020 by Finnish Government on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Finland brings forward new measures to combat COVID-19 spread

Finland brings forward new measures to combat COVID-19 spread

Nationwide restrictions on the operations of bars and restaurants will be in place between 1 and 31 October

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the rise across Finland, authorities have announced that they will be severely restricting operating and servicing hours of catering establishments in order to limit the spread of the disease. The restrictions will vary in severity across the country’s regions, depending on their respective “acceleration stages” and on how widespread the disease has become within their territories.

Acting in order to avoid a full lockdown

The approach undertaken by the Finnish government is very much in line with the overarching view across Europe – that a full lockdown of a country must be avoided at all costs in order to prevent as much damage to the economy as possible.

Thus, the measured response by Finnish authorities to introduce region and case-specific restrictions aims to combine a safety-first approach with a desire to protect as many jobs as businesses as possible.

The new rules that will be in force between 1 and 31 October will restrict the operating hours of all bars and catering establishments across Finland. In most cases, these venues will not be allowed to sell alcohol past 12 AM and will be forced to close at 1 AM at the latest.

In regions deemed to be in an “acceleration stage” (such as Uusimaa, where the capital of Helsinki is located) the rules will be tougher – the serving of alcohol will be banned after 10 PM and establishments will have to halve their total capacities.

After officially coming into force on 1 October, businesses will have a 7-day grace period to implement the new rules. Their enforcement will thus begin on 8 October, giving everyone plenty of time to embrace the “new normal”.



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