Finland looks to opening restaurants, sets out rules

The Finnish government this week announced restrictions on upcoming reopening of restaurants in June to prevent possible further spread of COVID-19.

Restaurants can reopen only at half capacity, between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., and alcohol service would only be allowed from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., Finnish Family Affairs and Social Services Minister Krista Kiuru said at a government press conference earlier this week.

Restaurants have been closed in Finland since April 4, leaving only workplace canteens and take-away admissible, in order to curb the COVID-19 epidemic. Kiuru said on Tuesday that the closure played a key role in bringing down infections.

The rules will cover the whole country now, and regional flexibility will be allowed later. Finnish national broadcaster Yle has reported that there were disagreements in the cabinet on whether rules would differ in various parts of Finland as the infection penetration levels vary.

According to the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, as of Tuesday afternoon, Finland has confirmed a total of 6,399 COVID-19 cases with 301 deaths and at least 5,000 recoveries.