News in brief

Following a special session on Tuesday evening, the government has announced new restrictions on restaurants across Uusimaa and South Karelia. The regions are now officially in the community transmission phase of the COVID-19 epidemic. 

From Sunday onwards, restaurants must stop serving customers at 10 p.m. and shut at 11 p.m. Restrictions are already in place in Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Kymenlaakso, Satakunta and the Helsinki metropolitan area, all of which are in the community transmission phase.

In regions such as South Savo, which are in the acceleration phase of the epidemic, restaurants must shut at 12 p.m. Currently, only bars and eateries in the East Savo hospital district and Lapland (with the exception of Rovaniemi) are allowed to remain open without a curfew. 

Restrictions will likely be eased for the events industry; however, as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has recommended removing the two-metre social distancing guideline for “low-risk” public events. 

Low-risk gatherings are defined as those that follow general hygiene guidelines, which include designated areas for attendees and utilising only 75 per cent of the maximum space allocated.

The ministry has sent an official notice to the Regional State Administrative Agencies recommending that such events be opened to larger audiences. Minister of Science and Culture Antti Kurvinen told STT that the goal is to ensure that gatherings are as safe as possible without imposing regulations that are unreasonably rigid. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times