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Thursday's papers: Unhappy hospitality industry, Skopje flights suspended and hazardous house pets

The Finnish Hospitality Association is afraid stricter restrictions on public events could lead to huge economic losses.

Grillissä valmistettavien ruokien ongelma on eläinlääkäreiden mukaan korkea rasvapitoisuus ja mausteet, jotka etenkin suurina määrinä yhdessä aiheuttavat koirille huonovointisuutta.
Pets cause a few dozen fires and other hazards in Finnish homes every year. Image: Timo Nykyri / Yle

The Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa has criticised regional administrative agencies stating there are no valid grounds for tightening the restrictions on public events of more than 50 people, tabloid Iltalehti reported.

The administrative agencies had said that it will stick to the 50 limit and stricter conditions for events larger than that which it announced on Monday regardless of the official guidelines issued by Ministry for Health and Social Affairs.

The MaRa association is afraid that the stricter line of the regional government agencies could lead to huge economic losses.

"Events cannot be restricted for safety reasons, especially in a situation where the virus has not been spreading at public events organised by responsible companies. At worst, bans will lead to corporate bankruptcies and rising unemployment. The human price is high," MaRa CEO Timo Lappi said in a press release.

No more flights to Skopje

Direct flights from Skopje in North Macedonia to Turku are now being suspended with the aid of European Union's air traffic regulations, according to daily Helsingin Sanomat’s sources.

HS explained that according to the regulations, an EU member state may prohibit, restrict or impose traffic rights in the event of short-term problems caused by "unforeseeable and unavoidable circumstances".

The Finnish Aviation Act in comparison has a greater threshold for restricting air traffic.

As many as 26 people who arrived on a Skopje flight that landed in Turku on 8 August tested positive for the disease, and 17 additional positive tests were reported on subsequent flights.

Estonia applied the same regulation to temporarily ban flights to seven high-risk countries, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom's director general Jarkko Saarimäki told HS.

Last week Transport and Communications Minister Timo Harakka (SDP) said that he would propose the suspension of flights from Skopje to Finland at a meeting of government ministers.

However, on the same day, Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) said she did not think that border restrictions would be the best option as the confirmed infections came from people with Finnish social security numbers.

Lewd parliament employee convicted

Papers were abuzz with the news of Helsinki District Court convicting a 40-year-old employee of the Parliament of Finland of sexual harassment and breach of duty offences.

The news was initially reported by Svenska Yle.

According to a report by Ilta-Sanomat the security professional was accused of repeatedly masturbating in the control room of the Finnish Parliament Annex, sexually harassing his colleagues and displaying naked pictures of himself. His convicted action lasted from spring 2017 to February 2019, when he resigned.

The man was sentenced to 80 daily penalties for two breaches of duty and sexual harassment, amounting to 960 euros. He was also ordered to pay his victim compensation of 5,000 euros and the victim's legal costs of 3,782 euros.

The man has denied the actions and expressed his dissatisfaction with the verdict.

Dangerous pets

Pets cause a few dozen fires and other significant hazards in Finnish homes every year, according to insurance company LähiTapiola.

Business daily Kauppalehti reported that dogs and cats could lead to dangerous situations by tipping open pots and candles, turning on the stove, gnawing on power cables and more.

The damage can be severe and even life-threatening for pets because such events often happen when the owner is away from home, Antti Määttänen, development manager of Housing Safety Services at LähiTapiola said.

"Pets cannot be blamed for accidents, but the responsibility always lies with the owner. It is good to remember that dogs and cats have often heroically alerted residents of fires and other dangerous situations," Määttänen said.

LähiTapiola advised pet owners to always close the kitchen door when leaving a pet at home, not to leave anything edible or flammable on or near the stove, turn off all open flames and remember to check if the fire alarm is in working condition.

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