The doorman of the nightclub El Patron in Helsinki checking the ID and scanning the coronavirus passport from a customer before entering on October 16, 2021. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

HELSINKI—The legislation on the coronavirus passport came into effect on the night between Friday and Saturday at midnight. Many nightclubs and restaurants across the country have suffered financially because of the restrictions. It was no surprise that many decided to take advantage of the new rule.

In Helsinki center, at a nightclub called El Patron, patrons were waiting in a line just before it was time to open the mobile app that would display a certificate of two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.


The passport serves as an alternative to the coronavirus restrictions imposed, for example, by the government. Currently, areas subjected to the restrictions include the Helsinki region, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme.

In the Helsinki region, for example, restaurants can serve alcohol between 07:00 and 00:00 and be open between 05:00–01:00.

With the help of the passport, El Patron stayed open until 04:00 in the morning. Customers without the passport walked out before midnight.

An alternative for this is that when the clock strikes twelve, only the customer with a certificate can buy alcohol. It may, however, be difficult for people without a passport to enjoy the evening after the tap has been closed. Also inspectors from the Regional State Administrative Agency are making spot checks in various places. While the inspectors are not allowed to ask for a coronavirus passport from a customer directly, they can ask the staff to check the matter.

Patrons waiting patiently in front of the El Patron. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The burly doorman of El Patron had his phone ready to scan the QR code of the app.

A young man in his 20s had his phone ready.

The doorman scanned.

Nothing happened.

The doorman tried again.

The passport was accepted.

The young man did a celebrative gesture with his hand and in he went.

Most of the time, the line moved smoothly. The scanning was a swift process.

It was a new step closer to normal.


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