Parliament Approves the Coronavirus Passport; Many Restaurants to Stay Open Until 05:00
Protesters against the coronavirus passport in front of the Parliament Building on Friday, October 15, 2021. The sign says that ‘by supporting the coronavirus passport you support fascism.’ Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today
In its plenary session on Friday afternoon, Parliament approved the introduction of the Covid-19 passport.
In practice, this means that in Finland the Covid-19 passport can be used in situations and premises which are subject to coronavirus restrictions.
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President Sauli Niinistö approved the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act concerning the EU Digital Covid Certificate: the coronavirus passport.
The amendment will enter into force at midnight, October 16.
As an alternative to the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the government, the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the municipalities, operators, such as entrepreneurs, who are subject to these restrictions could require their customers to present a Covid-19 passport.
The passport will serve as an alternative in situations where the event or premises in question are subject to restrictions.
Such restrictions can include restrictions on opening hours or the number of participants at events.
Many restaurants in Helsinki, for example, are going to fill their capacity and extend their opening hours to 05:00 in the morning.
The coronavirus passport can be required in the following settings: restaurants, nightclubs and public events, gyms and other indoor facilities for sports or physical activity, swimming centers and spas, dance halls, spaces used for group leisure activities, amusement and theme parks, indoor facilities for zoos, indoor playgrounds and play centers, and museums, exhibition spaces and other similar cultural venues.
People aged 16 and over can be required to present a Covid-19 passport but the testing of 16–17-year-olds to issue the passport should be secured in public healthcare if the person has not received the Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Under the current Covid-19 restrictions, the Covid-19 passport can currently be required by restaurants in areas that are subject to coronavirus restrictions.
Currently, the areas include the Greater Helsinki area, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme. It is possible to introduce the Covid-19 passport more widely if restrictions need to be imposed on other areas, too.
Event organizers requiring customers to show a Covid-19 passport can scan the passport using the Covid certificate reader app approved by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which is downloaded on a mobile device. It will be available free of charge from the app store.
In the plenary session, MPs of the Finns parliamentary group proposed to reject the bill.
In the vote, the report of the Social Affairs and Health Committee won the motion for rejection by 105 to 33 votes.
Thus, the bill was adopted in accordance with the committee report.
The Covid-19 passport refers to the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which is available in the My Kanta Pages (a vaccination certificate, a test certificate or a certificate of recovery).
If necessary, the certificate is also available as a paper version from the healthcare service.