People on a terrace in Helsinki on the 21st of July 2021.


Food and drink businesses in Finnish regions with fast spread of the coronavirus will be required to observe new restrictions on liquor sale and opening hours beginning from July 24, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said on Thursday.

"The Government has amended the decree restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The amended decree will enter into force on 24 July 2021," the ministry stated in a press release.

Restrictions will apply to regions experiencing an "acceleration phase" of the epidemic, including Kymenlaakso, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Uusimaa and Southwest Finland.

"In these regions, food and beverage service businesses may serve alcoholic beverages between 7.00 and 00.00 and may be open between 5.00 and 1.00," the statement read.

Restaurants serving primarily liquor will be required to cut the capacity of indoor seats by half, while other restaurants will able to continue serving up to 75% of their normal number of customers indoors. No limits were imposed on outdoor terraces, according to the press release.

Food and drink services on cruise ships, as well as canteens and takeaway businesses, are exempt from the new restrictions.

The daily increase in COVID-19 cases in Finland has been on the rise for the past four weeks, bringing the cumulative toll to over 101,000 cases with 978 deaths, as of Thursday. The Finnish government stressed that most new cases were non-serious and not requiring hospitalization, thanks to the national immunization campaign.

The Finnish vaccination drive began last December and to date has covered about 64% of the population with at least one dose and 29% with full two doses.

Source: ANI / Sputnik