Restrictions on Restaurants and Public Events to Continue Until Mid-February
Restaurants and many other indoor venues are forced to limit their opening hours or to keep their doors shut at least until mid-February.
The government will keep the current restrictions in effect until mid-February in an attempt to slow down the coronavirus pandemic.
“Exceptions to this are the limitations targeted at children and youth,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) said after the government’s negotiations that lasted from morning till evening at the House of the Estates on Tuesday.
The current restrictions concern the opening hours of restaurants, public events, indoor sports venues and other indoor premises for customers.
However, indoor venues will open for children and youth at the end of January. In addition, institutes of higher education can also continue with the so-called hybrid model, which allows both contact and distance teaching.
According to Marin, there’s currently no need to implement the Emergency Powers Act that would grant authorities more decision-making powers, for example, in determining how urgently a patient without Covid-19 would receive treatment in a hospital when the same resources could be reserved in treating coronavirus patients.
Also, the inner border control will end after January.
Marin said that the exact strategy on loosening the restrictions will be updated during the following two weeks. The agenda, for example, includes which restrictions are lifted first.
The government is also continuing to discuss the implementation of the coronavirus passport. There have been discussions that the name of the pass would be changed to a “vaccination passport.”
With a vaccination passport, one could not, for example, get into a restaurant with a negative Covid-19 test result. Currently, one can get in with a negative test. (Marin explained that the implementation of a vaccination passport could possibly be difficult in Finland because people who have survived the coronavirus and don’t have a doctor’s certificate would not be able to use services that require a vaccination passport.)
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Marin said that the government is not looking to keep restrictions in effect just to make people’s lives difficult; they are looking forward to lifting the current restrictions in February.
“But the situation may still change, and it is also good to tell it like it is.”