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Restrictions on gatherings to be lifted in most of Uusimaa, Helsinki pubs to stay open till 11pm

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said that looser restrictions could take effect in the Uusimaa region as soon as Friday.

Ihmisiä ravintolan terassilla.
Helsinki's bars and restaurants could soon be allowed to open longer into the night. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Helsinki region's coronavirus co-ordination group has downgraded the Covid situation in the capital to the middle level of Finland's three-stage Covid epidemic classification.

That means bars and restaurants could keep serving alcoholic drinks for longer, until 10 pm — once the switch is rubber stamped by the central government.

Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) announced the switch on Twitter. He said that the region's Covid-co-ordination group, which is composed of representatives from municipalities in the conurbation, had decided falling case counts meant the region was no longer in the 'community transmission' phase of the epidemic.

The group's view was that imported cases of new variants were the big threat now, with community transmission levels reducing all the time.

They therefore decided that the region should be reclassified as in the confusingly-named 'acceleration phase', which enables authorities to relax many of the restrictions affecting hobbies, bars and restaurants.

The rules to come into force mean that bars and eateries will be allowed to open from 5am until 11pm, and to serve alcohol from 7am until 10pm.

The changes are to come into force once they are approved by the government.

Restrictions on assembly to be lifted in most of Uusimaa

On Thursday afternoon the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health tweeted that the Uusimaa region had returned to the acceleration phase.

The ministry said that the government would decide an easing of restrictions on restaurants and bars on Friday morning. It said that the goal was for the changes to take effect in the Uusimaa region as early as Friday.

Meanwhile the Regional State Administrative Agency (Avi) of Southern Finland said on Thursday that restrictions on gatherings in most of Uusimaa would also be lifted as of Tuesday.

Most of Uusimaa, except for Espoo and Kauniainen, will return to baseline levels, with restrictions on gatherings being lifted altogether, the agency said.

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