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Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses to be eased

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
14.9.2021 13.38
Press release 261/2021

The Government has issued a decree restricting the activities of restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. The current restrictions for the acceleration and community transmission phases will be amended to extend the opening and licensing hours of food and beverage service businesses by one hour. In areas where the epidemic is at a stable level, customers will no longer be required to have their own seats in indoor premises. In addition, the baseline restrictions will be applied to food and beverage service businesses in North Karelia.

The decree will enter into force on Thursday 16 September 2021, and it will remain in force until 31 October 2021.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in the regions that are at the community transmission phase of the epidemic — Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Kymenlaakso, Uusimaa, South Karelia, Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia — from 16 September 

Food and beverage service businesses may serve alcohol between 7.00 and 23.00 and be open between 5.00 and 00.00.

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 in indoor and outdoor premises.

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

Customers are instructed to stay seated in indoor premises. Businesses must draw up and provide their customers with instructions on how to enter or leave the premises or access the area designated for smoking or the toilets and washing facilities and how to collect their takeaway orders of food and drinks. In practice, dancing and karaoke, for example, are not allowed.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in the regions that are at the acceleration phase of the epidemic — Kanta-Häme, Päijät-Häme, North Savo, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, South Savo and Satakunta — from 16 September 

Food and beverage service businesses may serve alcohol between 7.00 and 1.00 and be open between 5.00 and 2.00. 

Food and beverage service businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages are restricted to half of their normal number of customer seats indoors. Other food and beverage service business are restricted to 75 per cent of their normal number of customer seats indoors. 

As before, all customers must have their own seats by a table or counter when indoors. The number of customer seats in outdoor terraces is not limited. 

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in the regions that are at a stable level — Åland, Central Finland, Lapland and North Karelia — from 16 September

There are no separate restrictions on the number of customers or on licensing and opening hours.

The obligation to observe the general hygiene guidelines and to keep a safe distance applies in all areas.

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:

Jari Keinänen, Deputy Director General, the ministry of social affairs and health, [email protected]

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

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