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Yle sources: Earlier closing times set to come in this weekend

Under the new measures, bars and restaurants in ‘accelerated’ areas would be required to stop serving at 10pm.

Ravintola Harry'sin baaritiski
Bars and restaurants may be required to close early from Friday as the government tries to curb the coronavirus spread. Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle
Yle News

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is preparing to bring tighter restrictions on bars and restaurants into force as early as this weekend. The restrictions had originally been due to be introduced no earlier than next week.

However, according to an Yle source, earlier closing times and the reduction of bar and restaurant capacities will come into force in regions considered to be in an accelerated phase of the epidemic on Friday this week.

The new measures would require bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol by 10pm, and for premises to be cleared of customers by 11pm. It would also mean that only half of the establishment’s seating capacity can be occupied at any one time.

The government previously announced a nationwide midnight curfew, to be enforced from 8 October.

Minister for Basic Services and Health Krista Kiuru (SDP) briefly commented on the rollout plans for the new restrictions in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

"It may be too late next week," Kiuru said.

Story continues after audio.

With case counts rising, we reported that Finland wants to close pubs early, looked at hockey crowds during the pandemic and asked if we really live in 'Finntopia'.

Epidemic accelerating in several regions

The coronavirus epidemic is considered to be in an accelerated phase in several hospital districts, including Uusimaa.

The restrictions will be based on the infection rate in various hospital districts provided by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

On Tuesday, THL reported 227 new lab-confirmed coronavirus infections in Finland.

According to THL Director Mika Salminen, the figure is the highest so far this autumn.

"It is clear that the situation in Finland has changed significantly in recent weeks, perhaps even over the last month," Salminen said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

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