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Changes to opening hours of food and beverage service businesses and to use of COVID-19 passport

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
11.1.2022 16.27
Press release 9
kuvituskuva

The Government has amended the decree that restricts the activities of food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic. From now on, all food and beverage services businesses must close at 18.00. In addition, the restrictions on the use of the COVID-19 passport will be extended until the end of January. The decree on the opening hours of food and beverage service businesses will enter into force on 12 January 2022 at 00.00 and it will remain in force until 31 January 2022. The decree restricting the use of the COVID-19 passport will enter into force on 12 January 2022.

Until 31 January 2022, COVID-19 passport cannot be used as an alternative to restrictions

The Government has updated the decree on temporary restrictions to the use of the COVID-19 passport issued under section 58i of the Communicable Diseases Act. In practice, this means that until 31 January 2022 the COVID-19 passport cannot be used as an alternative to regional restrictions on public events and customer premises.

The decree will apply to all public events and customer premises that are subject to existing restrictions. Regional authorities will decide what restrictions are in place in their areas. The decree will apply to the areas of the hospital districts that meet the characteristics of community transmission areas.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in community transmission areas from 12 January at 00.00

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses that are necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic will be introduced in all community transmission areas.

The restrictions for community transmission areas will apply to the regions of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kainuu, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia, North Karelia, Central Finland, Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, South Savo, North Savo and Åland.

Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 17.00. Such businesses may keep their premises open to food and beverage service customers between 5.00 and 18.00. The restriction will also apply to businesses that do not serve alcoholic beverages (e.g. cafes and fast food restaurants).

Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have only half the normal number of customer seats in use in their indoor and outdoor premises. Other food and beverage service businesses are restricted to 75 per cent of their normal number of customer seats indoors.

All customers must have their own seats at a table or similar in indoor premises.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses cannot be circumvented by using COVID-19 passport

The use of the COVID-19 passport will not exempt food and beverage service businesses from the restrictions on customer numbers and opening and licensing hours. Serving of alcoholic beverages in all food and beverage service businesses will end at 17.00. All food and beverage service business will be required to close at 18.00

The restrictions on the use of the COVID-19 passport will be in force until 31 January 2022.
The obligation to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance applies in all regions.

Even if the use of the COVID-19 passport does not exempt food and beverage service businesses from the restrictions as before, all food and beverage service businesses in Finland will still have the right to require customers to present the COVID-19 passport at all hours.

Exceptions to restrictions remain unchanged

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.

Inquiries:

Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, [email protected] 
Mirka-Tuulia Kuoksa, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, Wellbeing and Health Protection Unit / HYT, [email protected]

The Regional State Administrative Agencies will answer questions concerning the practical implementation of the restrictions.