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New coronavirus restrictions for bars and restaurants

The updated coronavirus restrictions for five regions in Finland will run from 1 November until 15 December.

Bars will feel the brunt of the new coronavirus restrictions. Image: Pekka Viinikka / Yle

The Finnish government announced new coronavirus-related measures on Thursday for five regions of the country starting on 1 November. The new decrees expand restrictions on customer seating in restaurants, cafés and other eateries and further clamps down on alcohol service times.

In Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa and Ostrobothnia, licensed establishments such as pubs, bars and restaurants must stop serving alcohol by 10pm and will have to close by 11pm. Other food and beverage service businesses may remain open until midnight.

All five areas are currently said to be in what the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health called the acceleration or community transmission phase of the coronavirus epidemic.

As such, the number of customer seats in businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages in those regions will be restricted to half of normal capacity. For restaurants, pizzerias and cafés, customer seating capacity will be restricted to three quarters of the usual amount.

Businesses in other parts of Finland will be required to stop serving alcohol by midnight and close by 1am at the latest, as is currently the case.

Current coronavirus restrictions for cafés and restaurants regarding hygiene and safe distances in customer seating areas will also remain unchanged.

The modified business and alcohol service do not apply to food and beverage service businesses on vessels and aircraft that operate between Finland and other countries or to food and beverage kiosks that operate at petrol stations.

There are currently no zero-infected regions in Finland.

The new government guidelines will remain in effect until 15 December.