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Parliament, president approve 3-week closure of bars, restaurants

The closure order, which affects many areas across Finland, will go into force on Tuesday 9 March.

Ravintolapäällikkö Esa Kvist kuivasi lattiaa, vuoropäällikkö Tuomas Kolu tyhjensi hanasta valutetun tuotteen viemäriin.
Bars and restaurants located in regions considered to be in the accelerating and community transmission phase of the epidemic will close for three weeks. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

On Monday, Finland's Parliament approved a bill ordering bars and restaurants to close their doors for three weeks in an effort to tackle the worsening coronavirus situation in many areas of the country.

President Sauli Niinistö signed the bill into law later on Monday. The government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) announced the shutdown plans late last month.

The order applies to cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the accelerating and community transmission phase of the pandemic and will come into effect overnight on Monday. This means that premises can remain open on 8 March, but must be closed beginning on the following day.

The closure order applies to most regions of Finland, with the exception of North Savo, North Karelia, Kainuu and Central Ostrobothnia, which are all currently in the baseline phase.

Restaurant takeaway or carryout sales will continue to be permitted.

The order also does not apply to work-site staff restaurants and other restaurants that are not open to the general public.

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