Government to compensate businesses for coronavirus restriction losses

The compensation would amount to about 25 million euros per month.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

The Finnish government has agreed to provide compensation to businesses that have suffered financial losses from coronavirus-related restrictions via a supplementary budget, announced Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Cen) on Friday.

"Compensation for closures would apply to those spaces that have been shut following official regulations or laws, such as exercise and sports facilities, gyms, spas and indoor playgrounds," he stated in a press conference.

According to Lintilä's estimates, compensation would amount to approximately 25 million euros per month.

In addition to compensation for closures, the government is also preparing a sixth round of relief funding for companies, with 90 million euros worth of coronavirus-related support packages per month.

While no new restaurant restrictions have been announced yet, Lintilä revealed that legislation for new regulations is being prepared, and will likely apply to "high-risk" restaurants.

THL has already recommended a three-week shutdown of bars and pubs.

"The timeline will probably be about three to four weeks, because parliament will decide on the matter," he said.

Changes in unemployment benefits

Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen (Left) also said that the government would be doing away with the system of "deductible" days, whereby those applying for unemployment benefits do not receive economic support for the first five days following the start of their unemployment period.

Additionally, Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen revealed the government will reintroduce changes to labour market support that enable entrepreneurs to avail of unemployment benefits without having to close down their business completely.

The change first came into effect at the start of the pandemic in 2019, but was discontinued last November.

Business federation Suomen Yrittäjät (The Federation of Finnish Enterprises) has voiced its support for the new measures but has suggested that in addition, the government could also speed up the furlough process for companies and shorten the deductible period for sick leave pay.