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Helsinki city councilor wants restaurant terraces open past 10 pm

One sure sign that summer has arrived to Helsinki is when the terraces of bars, cafes and restaurants begin to fill up with customers. According to city laws, terraces are allowed to be open from 7 am until 10 pm - but some Helsinki city councillors want to extend them even later.

Image: Yle/Jere Valkonen

Outdoor cafe and restaurant terraces have become an integral, colourful part of the urban landscape in Helsinki, according to several city councillors.

They say that restaurateurs and cafe owners should be able to keep their terraces open longer than the 10 pm limit the law dictates.

On Wednesday Helsinki city councillor Sami Muttilainen of the Left Alliance made a motion to begin discussion about the topic.

Muttilainen says that law enforcement, social affairs and health officials and city residents should sit down to talk about the idea.

He says that while the season of alfresco dining and drinking is short in the city's northern climes, terraces provide an economic boost to restaurant owners.

Open past 10 pm?

The 10 pm rule has exceptions. In some cases restaurants can keep their terraces open beyond 10 pm, for example when the terrace is not adjacent to people's homes.

In other cases, if the restaurant or bar in question is part of a building cooperative, the building's shareholders can decide the hours themselves.

Muttilainen says that visiting tourists would likely appreciate Helsinki terraces being able to stay open late at night, too.