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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health requests comments on draft government proposal to expand use of COVID-19 passport

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 17.12.2021 18.08
Press release 402/2021

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health requests comments on a draft government proposal according to which the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, i.e. the COVID-19 passport, would also be possible by law when there are no restrictions in force.

The draft also proposes that municipalities and Regional State Administrative Agencies, which make official decisions in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act, could, in certain cases, issue a decision obliging operators to require their customers and participants to present a COVID-19 passport. Similarly, the Government could issue a decree obliging restaurants to require their customers to present a COVID-19 passport. In practice, municipalities and Regional State Administrative Agencies as well as the Government in the case of restaurants could make the use of the COVID-19 passport mandatory for certain operators and in certain situations.

Expanding the use of the COVID-19 passport

Expanding the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, i.e. the COVID-19 passport, would mean in practice that the COVID-19 passport could also be introduced on a voluntary basis in situations where operators are not subject to restrictions. Operators could thus require their customers or participants to present a COVID-19 passport in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections. The COVID-19 passport could also be introduced in sectors other than the food and beverage service sector and the event sector, for example. At present, the COVID-19 passport serves as an alternative health security measure only when the event or facilities in question are subject to restrictions.

As under the current legislation, people aged 16 years or older could be required to present a COVID-19 passport.

The obligation to present a COVID-19 passport could not apply in connection with statutory services (such as libraries, early childhood education and care, pre-primary education and primary and lower secondary education, liberal adult education, basic education in arts, vocational education and training, general upper secondary education, higher education), essential services (such as health and social services) or acquiring supplies or materials (food, medicines). In addition, the obligation to present a COVID-19 passport could not prevent people from fulfilling their rights and obligations. 

Operators could only require a COVID-19 passport of customers, participants or the public. Operators could not, however, require their employees to present a COVID-19 passport under this regulation. 

Section 58j of the Communicable Diseases Act lays down provisions on processing the data contained on the EU Digital COVID Certificate and verifying the person’s identity.

Comments can be submitted until 17 January 2022

Comments on the draft government proposal can be submitted between 17 December 2021 and 17 January 2022. 

The Act is scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible and it would remain in force until 30 June 2022.

Inquiries

Mirka-Tuulia Kuoksa, Legal Adviser, [email protected]) (available between 21 and 22 December and as of 10 January)
Kirsi Ruuhonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, [email protected] (available between 20 and 21 December and as of 7 January)
Jari Keinänen, Director, [email protected]

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