Finland relaxes restrictions on borders, restaurants, bars and cafes

More than 20 countries are now added to Finland's 'safe list' meaning visitors from those places don't have to self-isolate when they arrive.

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File picture showing flight departure board at Helsinki Airport / Credit: News Now Finland

A range of coronavirus-related restrictions are easing in Finland today, as the country moves to a phase of ‘new normal’ in the pandemic.

Restrictions on the opening hours of bars, restaurants and cafes come to an end which are now allowed to sell drinks in accordance with the Alcohol Act.

There’s also no longer a restriction on the occupancy rates inside businesses, which had been increased from 50% at the beginning of June to 75% before Midsummer. Restaurants, bars and cafes can now fill up their indoor space, like their terraces, to the legal capacity.

However each customer must have their own seat, and good social distancing should be ensured between groups, with places for customers to wash their hands or use sanitzer, and extra cleaning needs to be undertaken for enhanced hygiene.

File picture of Helsinki Airport departures hall / Credit: Finavia

Travel restrictions easing too, as borders re-open

Travel restrictions between Finland and more than 20 countries and territories are being eased today, with people allowed to come to Finland for any reason – business or pleasure – without having to go into self-isolation when they get here.

Authorities had previously opened up the borders to travelers from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway, and to qualify to be on the new list countries had to show a level of eight cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population over the last two weeks.

“We are returning gradually to normal, but there is still room for caution said Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) when the easing of border restrictions was announced last week.

Restrictions remain with some countries where the coronavirus situation has not improved enough, and where there is still an elevated risk of viral introduction into Finland, including our neighbours Sweden and Russia, but also popular holiday destinations like Spain, Portugal and France, as well as the UK and USA.

Restrictions are being reviewed every two weeks, so more countries are likely to be added to Finland’s ‘safe list’ once their coronavirus situation improves.