Warm weather, and the following holiday, inspired people to gather in parks across the capital.

People enjoying the warm Wednesday in Tokoinranta in Helsinki’s Kallio district on May 12, 2021. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

HELSINKI—Two ladies were browsing the beverage section of a local supermarket in Töölö on late Wednesday afternoon.

“Grab as many large cans of beer as you can carry,” the one who appeared to be the boss said.

“Today, we are going to get drunk!” she continued.

The ladies were followed by others doing the same thing, clutching anything with alcohol in it.

Outside, in bright sunshine, the green grass was dotted with people in small groups.

Across the Töölö Bay at Tokoinranta in Kallio, a hundred or more had packed in the park, drinking, smoking and dancing.

The weather was very warm, but the beer was cold, and the following day was a national holiday (Ascension Day).

Wednesday was also the last day when restaurants in the capital region had to stop serving alcohol at 17:00. On Thursday, the last call would come an hour later and in restaurants where they serve food at 19:00.

Still, the coronavirus restrictions were in place, and the government had advised avoiding large gatherings. The police reported that about 500 people had packed in the Sinebrychoff Park, downtown in Punavuori. In the evening, the law enforcement began clearing out the parks.

“Clearing out the parks happened in good mutual understanding,” the police said.