Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Friday said life in Finland won’t return to normal after the March shutdown. She told Yle that Finland would continue most of the new restrictions announced on Thursday after the three-week partial shutdown concludes at the end of March.
"We won’t dismantle the restrictions, they’ll still be in force. Children and youths are the only group whose restrictions would be lifted," Marin said of the measures that include closures of bars and restaurants and expanded remote learning as of 8 March.
Marin said the government would hand its proposal to close bars and restaurants in areas health officials deem to be in 'spreading' and 'acceleration' stages to legislators early next week.
The new normal
Marin said she didn’t envision bars and restaurants totally opening up after the three-week shutdown ends on 28 March.
"We wouldn’t return to the old usual way of doing things, but to a new type of situation," she said, alluding to opening hours and maximum capacity rules for bars and restaurants.
Marin added that she did not want to rule out Finland rolling out even stricter rules to combat the virus, such as curfews.
"I don’t want to exclude measures like curfews possible under the Emergency Powers Act that would be implemented from the perspective of safeguarding healthcare capacity or controlling the epidemic," the premier explained.
She said she believed it was possible Finland would invoke emergency powers if health authorities said it was absolutely necessary.
"In that case political decision-makers have to be prepared for it, and I am," she said.
On Friday, Veli-Matti Ulander, chief administrative physician at Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), suggested that hospitals may see a spike in Covid patients between the end of March and early April.