Restrictions on restaurants will be eased, for example, in Satakunta, Kanta-Häme and Ostrobothnia regions.

Terraces will open again. Archive photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The government has amended the decree restricting the activities of restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The amendment to the decree will enter into force on April 23 at 00:00.

Restrictions on restaurants will be eased, for example, in Satakunta, Kanta-Häme and Ostrobothnia regions.

Here’s a full list of the current restrictions.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karelia and the Hospital District of East Savo from April 23

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one-third of the normal number of seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

They may serve alcoholic beverages between 7:00 and 17:00. Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may be open between 5:00 and 18:00. Other restaurants may be open to customers between 5:00 and 19:00.

The restaurants located in these regions must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. This means that dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances. The above-mentioned customer seating restrictions and “dance ban” do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Åland, South Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, North Savo, North Karelia, Central Finland and the Hospital District of South Savo from April 23, 2021

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use half the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. In other restaurants, 75% of customer seats may be in use in indoor premises.

Restaurants may serve alcoholic beverages until 22:00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 23:00.

In these regions, restaurants must also instruct customers to stay seated in indoor premises. This means that dancing and karaoke, for example, are prohibited in indoor premises.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat and everyone must take care of safe distances. The customer seating restrictions and “dance ban” do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Restrictions on food and beverage service businesses in Kanta-Häme, Satakunta and Ostrobothnia from April 23

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may have in use one third of the normal number of customer seats in indoor premises. Other restaurants will be allowed to seat half of their normal number of customers inside their establishments.

Restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages may serve alcohol until 18:00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 19:00. Other restaurants may serve alcohol until 19:00 and be open to customers between 5:00 and 20:00.

In outdoor terraces, each customer must have a seat, and everyone must take care of safe distances. The customer seating restrictions and “dance ban” do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Exceptions to restrictions remain unchanged

The restrictions laid down in the decree do not apply to the activities of staff restaurants or 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.

Compensation to food and beverage service businesses

Restaurants and other companies that have been shut down by law or order of authority may be entitled to closure compensation. This new form of compensation applies to small and micro-sized enterprises that employ a maximum of 49 employees. Applications for closure compensation will be accepted from May 12, 2021. Companies can apply for compensation at the State Treasury.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is currently preparing a proposal to compensate large companies for the closure, but it will require the approval of the European Commission. Closure compensation and compensation for any subsequent restrictions on restaurants will be prepared as part of the fourth application round for business cost support.