Finland tightens restaurant restrictions, announces boosters for under 60s

Restaurants and bars can however continue to operate free from restrictions if they require the Covid pass at all times.

Speaking at the press briefing, Kiuru expressed her concern over the fact that 49 out of approximately 50-60 intensive care beds are currently occupied. Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

With daily coronavirus cases hitting record highs, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) on Thursday announced the extension of the Communicable Disease Act into June 2022 as well as updated restrictions on the operations and opening hours of bars and restaurants.

According to the updated measures, bars and restaurants that do not require customers to show a Covid pass must stop serving at 5pm and close their doors at 6pm. In order to operate without restrictions, staff must ask for the Covid pass at all times.

Businesses that do not sell alcohol, such as cafés, may continue to operate between the hours of 5am and 1am, regardless of whether they use the Covid pass or not.

Yle has learned that the new restrictions will take effect on Sunday 28 November and will apply to bars and restaurants located in areas considered to be in the spreading phase of the pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the minister revealed that the government is preparing a new vaccination strategy which will see vaccines rolled out to children aged between 5 and 11, and booster doses offered to people under the age of 60.

The move comes after the European Agency for Disease Control (ECDC) recommended to EU member states that a third dose of the vaccine be given to all people over 40 years of age.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to issue a vaccine recommendation for children aged 5-11, which is why Finland has begun preparations, Kiuru said at the press briefing.