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Restaurant restrictions tighten through much of Finland

Under the new rules, restrictions on bars and restaurants in community spread areas apply to both indoor and outdoor areas. Only four regions are free of restrictions.

Ihmisiä terassilla.
In community spread areas, seating restrictions now apply to beer gardens and terraces as well. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva
Yle News

As of Sunday, new restaurant restrictions apply due to the worsening coronavirus situation.

In the areas designated as being in the community spread phase, alcohol sales must end at 10 pm, while those in the so-called acceleration phase may serve until midnight.

The areas in the community spread phase are Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa and Kymenlaakso, as well as the Helsinki metropolitan area, i.e., Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

The regions now classified as in the less-serious "acceleration phase" are Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Päijät-Häme, North Savo, North and South Karelia, Central Finland, South Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, as well as the province of Uusimaa, except for the Helsinki metropolitan area.

In community spread areas, dining establishments must close by 11 pm while those in acceleration areas may keep their doors open until 1 am.

In the autonomous maritime province of Åland, bars and restaurants may be open from 5 am to 1 am but may only serve alcohol from 7 am to midnight.

In the provinces of Northern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, South Savo and Lapland, there are no separate restrictions on the number of customers or drinking and opening hours.

No indoor dancing and karaoke in community spread phase

In community spread areas, establishments where serving alcohol is the main business may only offer half of normal customer seating.

Unlike before, the regulation now applies not only to the interior of restaurants but also to outdoor areas. In other restaurants, only 75 percent of the customer seats may be used, indoors and out.

All customers must have their own seating at a table or similar level, both indoors and outdoors. In the areas of the community spread phase, there is also a ban on indoor dancing and karaoke, with customers told to remain in their seats.

In acceleration areas, half of the customer seats can be used indoors at bars where alcohol is the main business. At other restaurants, 75 percent of capacity may be used indoors. Each customer must still have their own seat with a table or similar surface. There is no limit to the number of customer seats on outdoor terraces or in beer gardens.

The latest restrictions do not apply to takeaway food sales, staff restaurants or dining facilities at petrol stations.

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