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Finland to clamp down harder on pubs and nightclubs, ease up on sit-down eateries

Restaurants will be able to accommodate more customers than bars and nightclubs.

Tuoppi ravintolan baaritiskillä
Pubs will face tougher coronavirus restrictions than dining establishments under Finland's new classifications. Image: Johanna Manu / Yle

Finnish bars and nightclubs will in future be under tighter restrictions than restaurants and cafes after a historic decision to define differences between different forms of hospitality businesses.

Previously the term 'restaurant' had covered all types of eateries and watering holes, with coronavirus restrictions applied evenly across the sector.

The decision was announced on Tuesday by MPs from the social and health care committee in parliament.

In areas where the epidemic situation demands tighter restrictions, bars, pubs and nightclubs will have to cut capacity by half, with outlets primarily focused on food able to accommodate up to 75 percent of their normal capacity.

"The tightest restrictions will be applied to those restaurants whose primary purpose is to serve alcoholic drinks," said the committee's chair Markus Lohi (Cen) at a press conference on Tuesday.

The committee based its decision on the different levels of infection risk in each type of establishment.

The new rules are expected to come into force in November.

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