Travel restrictions, restaurant closures set to start today
Sweeping new rules are set to come into force later on Friday that will restrict travel in and out of Uusimaa region; and close restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs nationwide. It’s part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Finland. Both issues are being discussed in Parliament during the day and likely to be voted on only later this afternoon. However at that point police say they’re ready to close roads to/from Uusimaa region – both main roads and smaller ones. Army conscripts will be manning some checkpoints; and police will be checking that passengers have a valid reason to be on trains. Read more about the government’s intentions at our story here; and read more about travel restrictions at our story here.
Opposition wants more say in coronavirus budget decisions
The government has announced a total of one billion euros for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The money is distributed as grants by Business Finland and ELY Centres. However the National Coalition Party thinks there should be more options for funding companies. “Companies could get back the VAT or taxes they’ve paid over the first three months of this year, which would immediately help them and be much more straight forward” says MP Elina Lepomäki (NCP). The MP concedes there’s not “one silver bullet” that’s the right way to help companies out but says the government should include more financial options that help a broader range of businesses. Read more at our original story here.
Repatriation flights for Finns stranded abroad
Four flights are set to leave foreign airports today heading for Helsinki, bringing back hundreds of stranded Finnish holidaymakers. The flights are being organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Finnair, and leave from two airports in Portugal; Paphos in Cyprus; and Miamia in Florida. Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) tells News Now Finland that authorities trust the passengers on board to self-isolate for 14 days once they get back to Finland. But the head of Helsinki and Uuismaa Hospital District said in a Thursday night television interview that those passengers should be put into enforced quarantine at hotels near the airport instead, so there’s less chance of them spreading coronavirus to other parts of the country if they’ve got it.
Friday morning weather
After a cool start to the morning the weather will warm up slightly through the day, with sunshine in many parts of the country. Later however some rain and thunder storms could move into western areas. Temperatures on Friday morning range from -1°C in northwest Lapland to +5°C for Joensuu in the east and down south in Hanko as well. Winds along the south coast are much calmer than they were yesterday.