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Restaurants to close on 9 March in areas where COVID-19 epidemic situation is the most serious

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
8.3.2021 18.12 | Published in English on 8.3.2021 at 20.19
Press release

Restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses must be closed to customers from 9 March 2021. The act and the decree concerning the matter will enter into force at midnight between Monday 8 March and Tuesday 9 March. Restaurants will be closed to customers until 28 March 2021 in areas where it is necessary to stop the acceleration of the epidemic. These include the areas where the coronavirus epidemic is in acceleration or community transmission phase and Central Finland, because the epidemiological indicators there are similar to an area in acceleration phase. However, restaurants can still sell food for takeaway or delivery.

On 8 March 2021, Parliament approved and the President of the Republic confirmed an act, which will temporarily close restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses to customers. Government issued a decree on the areas to be affected by the closure on the same day. The decision was based on the views of the experts at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on the epidemic situation in the areas.

Restaurants must be closed to customers in the following regions:

  1. Uusimaa
  2. Southwest Finland
  3. Satakunta
  4. Kanta-Häme
  5. Pirkanmaa
  6. Päijät-Häme
  7. Kymenlaakso
  8. South Karelia
  9. South Savo
  10. Central Finland
  11. South Ostrobothnia
  12. Ostrobothnia
  13. Northern Ostrobothnia
  14. Lapland
  15. Åland

The following areas are excluded from the closure: North Karelia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Savo.

The Government will amend the Decree if the closure is not necessary in a certain area, that is, if an area no longer is in acceleration or community transmission phase. The Government will also amend the Decree, if the epidemic accelerates in one of the areas now at a stable level. 

The assessment of necessity and decisions are based on the expert evaluation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

The classification of regions into the baseline, acceleration and community transmission phases of the epidemic is based on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s action plan for implementing the hybrid strategy to manage COVID-19.

Closure to affect all food and beverage service businesses, with the exception of staff restaurants

The food and beverage service businesses to be closed down include cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that are open to the public. The restriction also affects outdoor terraces.

Only restaurants that are not open to the public are exempt from the closures. It therefore does not affect canteens in residential homes for older people or staff restaurants that are not open to other customers, for example.

During the closure, restaurants and cafes will still be allowed to sell portions directly to the customer for takeaway or deliver them either themselves or using other service providers.

In regions not affected by the closure, food and beverage service businesses can continue to be open to customers. Businesses that remain open must still comply with the restrictions laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and in the regulations issued under it.

As a matter of urgency, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is preparing a support model for the reasonable compensation of businesses affected by the closure. This aid will be implemented as part of the business cost support. During March, the Government will issue a separate proposal on the amendments to the Act on Support for Business Costs caused by the closure.

Inquiries:
Liisa Huhtala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel.
+358 29 504 7062
Antti Neimala, Director-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel.
+358 29 504 7039 
Mikko Huuskonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel.
+358 29 506 3732 (questions on business cost support)

 
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