Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in effect until 30 June 2021
Parliament adopted the government proposal of 4 February 2021 for temporarily amending the Communicable Diseases Act. The amendment will extend the validity of the provisions restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses, namely restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs. The President of the Republic approved the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act on 26 February 2021.
The restrictions on the activities of food and beverage service businesses were temporarily added to the Communicable Diseases Act, under section 58a, in May. Now the validity of the Act on Temporarily Amending the Communicable Diseases Act and the temporary section will be extended, without changing their content, from 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2021.
The restrictions and obligations imposed earlier will remain in force. The content of the Act adopted by Parliament corresponds to the current provisions. Food and beverage service businesses must follow specific hygiene requirements and ensure sufficient physical distance between customers. They must draw up a plan on how to implement the restrictions and obligations. The plan and the maximum permitted number of customers must be displayed where customers can see them. The Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for overseeing compliance with the restrictions and obligations.
The restrictions laid down in the Act will not apply to staff restaurant activities, takeaway sales of food and beverages, or food and beverage service businesses operating in connection with service stations. Restaurants of ships and airplanes travelling between Finland and other countries or operating abroad will also be excluded from the restrictions.
The Government may continue to lay down provisions restricting the opening and licensing hours of food and beverage service businesses and their numbers of customers and use of indoor spaces by decree. The Government issued a decree today which lays down provisions on more specific restrictions. More information on the decree will be provided separately.
The Government has also decided that a proposal will be prepared and submitted to Parliament concerning restaurant closures between 8 and 28 March 2021. The proposed closures would not apply to areas where the epidemic is at a stable level. The provisions that are to enter into force now will apply to all food and beverage service businesses in the country before 8 March 2021, and even after that, to food and beverage service businesses to which the act on restaurant closures will not apply.
Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, (email)