President cancels Independence Day gala, cites worsening Covid situation

This year's event had been intended to honour Finland's healthcare professionals.

The event was set to be held at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Image: Mårten Lampén / Yle

This year's Independence Day gala, which was set to take place at Helsinki's Presidential Palace on 6 December, has been cancelled.

According to a press release (siirryt toiseen palveluun) from the President's Office, the event has been called off due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.

A separate event celebrating war veterans and members of Finland's Lotta Svärd organisation has also been cancelled.

Earlier this month, President Sauli Niinistö announced that this year's gala would be limited to 200 guests, and would focus on honouring healthcare professionals.

According to the press release, the reception could have proceeded as planned had it not been for an unfortunate loophole in current Covid-19 legislation, which prevents organisers from mandating the use of a Covid pass at official events.

The annual tradition, which usually sees the Finnish president and their spouse greeting up to 2,000 guests, took place virtually last year.

Those on this year's guest list will reportedly receive an invitation to the next Independence Day gala, to be held in 2022.

While the details of this year's Independence Day celebrations are not yet clear, Yle will broadcast the event on 6 December.