Morning headlines: Friday 17th April 2020

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00.

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Summer festivals press pause, waiting for government signal

Festival organisers are hoping for a clear indication from the government about the fate of their summer events. The Prime Minister said this week that she would announce a decision in April about whether festivals are allowed to go ahead as planned or if they’ll be canceled during the coronavirus pandemic. But there are already questions being asked about what a ban on festivals would look like, and whether there would be a financial aid package for events that are called off. “They are talking about canceling festivals, but we don’t know what is meant by that. Is it huge rock festivals, or will the same rules apply to a smaller chamber music festival where there might be 50 people” says Kai Amberla from the Finland Festivals organisation. In Seinäjoki organisers of the Provinssi Festival, which attracts more than 70,000 people over three days in July, say it’s good now if there is some clarity on when the government will make a decision about summer events. “The uncertainty that’s hovering above us and has been for a while already is making us more uncomfortable day by day” says Head of Festival Sami Rumpunen. Read more at our original story here.

New startup allowance for entrepreneurs during coronavirus crisis 

The Ministry of Employment & Economy has announced a new coronavirus-related benefit for entrepreneurs. The new allowance can be paid to anyone already receiving a startup grant, on days when they cannot work due to the virus. It’s effectively an unemployment benefit. The ministry says the new money will allow entrepreneurs to secure their livelihood in exceptional circumstances which could not have been foreseen when they started their business.

Finnair repatriating more Finns from Spain

Finnair is repatriating more Finns abroad who want to return home. This afternoon the airline will operate an extra flight from Malaga to Helsinki in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Southern Spain is a magnet for tens of thousands of Finns, some who live their full time, but many others – especially older people – who would normally spend several months during winter and return to Finland in spring time. Tickets for this afternoon’s flight are available on the Finnair website costing around €335 for one-way travel.

President and PM to launch ‘resilience’ initiative

President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) will launch a new initiative on Friday afternoon to help Finns look after their mental health resilience during the coronavirus pandemic. The new campaign is called ‘Finland Works’ and aims to support citizens’ confidence in the future and encourage people to do good deeds.

Friday morning weather

It’s a bright and sunny start to Friday morning for the southern part of the country with plenty of sunshine for Vaasa, Jyväskylä, Tampere, Turku, and the capital city region. Further north the weather is more mixed with some wet snow, sleet and rain across eastern and northern parts of Lapland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 17th April 2020 / Credit: FMI