Restrictions imposed on food and beverage service businesses to continue until 28 February 2021 – restrictions also introduced in Lapland
The Government issued a new decree restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.
The general obligations of food and beverage service businesses remain unchanged in the decree. Restrictions to the amount of customer seating, opening hours and hours of service of food and beverage service businesses that apply in different parts of the country in different stages of the epidemic remain unchanged. Stricter restrictions on businesses serving food or beverages apply in the regions of Southwest Finland, North Karelia and Lapland and in the Hospital District of South Savo due to an acceleration of the epidemic in these areas.
In addition, the decree clarifies the restrictions on alcohol licensing hours.
The decree will enter into force on 12 December 2020 and remain in force until 28 February 2021.
Restrictions being imposed in Lapland seek to address risks posed by the tourism season
By way of exception, restrictions to the amount of customer seating, opening hours and licensing hours will be introduced in the whole of Lapland. The Hospital District of Länsi-Pohja, which is classified as part of Lapland, has reached the acceleration phase of the epidemic, whereas the Hospital District of Lapland is still at the stable level. Uniform restrictions are being laid down because the tourist season will bring tens of thousands of tourists from other countries to Lapland for Christmas and the New Year, especially from places that are in the acceleration and community transmission phase of the epidemic.
All food and beverage service businesses in Lapland will be allowed to serve alcohol between 7.00 and 22.00. Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 24.00 and 23.00, and they will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers. Other restaurants may be open between 1.00 and 24.00 and seat 75% of their normal number of customers.
The restrictions in Lapland are the same as those previously imposed in regions that reached the acceleration phase of the epidemic. The same restrictions now also apply to the regions of Satakunta, Pirkanmaa, South Karelia, North Karelia, Central Finland, South Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Lapland. In addition, the same restrictions apply to businesses serving food or beverages located in the Hospital District of South Savo, but not to the entire region of South Savo. This is because the epidemic is still at the stable level in the Hospital District of East Savo, which is part of the region of South Savo.
Community transmission phase restrictions apply to restaurants in the region of Southwest Finland
Southwest Finland is among the regions classified as having reached the community transmission phase of the epidemic. Food and beverage service businesses in Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Kanta-Häme, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso and North Ostrobothnia may stay open until 23.00, and they may, after closing, reopen their doors at 5.00 at the earliest. The restrictions on opening hours will not apply to food and beverage service businesses operating in connection with service stations.
All food and beverage service businesses in these regions must stop serving alcohol by 22.00. The amount of customer seating in restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages will be restricted to half the normal number of seats. Restaurants serving food will be allowed to seat 75% of their normal number of customers.
In the regions of North Savo and Åland and in the Hospital District of East Savo, which are at the stable level of the epidemic, there are no restrictions on the amount of customer seating in establishments that serve food and beverages. All food and beverage service businesses will be allowed to serve alcohol between 7.00 and 24.00. Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 2.00 and 1.00. The opening hours of other restaurants will not be restricted.
Further specifications to the provisions relating to alcohol licensing hours
By including a reference to the Alcohol Act to the decree, the decree clarifies the restrictions to the hours when alcoholic beverages may be served. In practice, the restrictions on licensing hours issued in the decree apply to all alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of ethyl alcohol. For example, light beers or light long drinks may not be served after the licensing hours imposed by the decree.
Ismo Tuominen, Senior Ministerial Adviser [email protected]
- Government decree amending the government decree on temporarily restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses to prevent the spread of a communicable disease, 20 December 2020 (PDF, available in Finnish and Swedish)
- Memorandum (in Finnish)
- Restrictions on the activities of food and beverage service businesses, 12 December 2020,Table (PDF, available in Finnish and Swedish