Restaurants closed to customers, ordering takeaway permitted
Finland is currently in a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, and in order to prevent the spread of the virus, restaurants, cafés and licensed premises will be closed to customers as soon as possible. On 24 March 2020, the Government submitted a government proposal on the matter to Parliament, which will bring the matter into discussion immediately. The purpose of these actions is to protect the population and to safeguard the functioning of society. These restrictions will remain in force until 31 May 2020.
However, meals may be sold to customers for takeaway. Customers themselves or a food courier are allowed to pick up prepared meals from the restaurant, or the restaurant can deliver meals directly to customers.
The order to close restaurants to customers does not apply to restaurants that are not open to the public, such as personnel canteens or student canteens in educational institutions.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will provide more information about the closure of restaurants to businesses and citizens as soon as possible.
Support for businesses is available
Entrepreneurs facing financial difficulties are advised to first contact their own bank and other financing providers. Due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, banks are prepared to discuss arrangements such as loan repayment holidays and repayment rescheduling. Actions taken by the central government make banks better equipped to provide financing to companies.
Companies can apply for support from Business Finland, which made two new financial services available on 19 March 2020 to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. These services are intended for SMEs and midcaps operating in Finland whose business is suffering from the coronavirus situation.
Financial services are intended for tourism and auxiliary tourism services, but also for creative and performing industries and all sectors where subcontracting chains are affected. The funding is intended for companies to explore and tap into new business opportunities in emergency conditions.
In addition, ELY Centres are prepared to support restaurant entrepreneurs in financial distress caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The ELY Centres’ business development projects are therefore targeted especially at helping SMEs in the service sector to prevent and control the effects of the coronavirus.
The Talousapu financial assistance service offers advice to companies facing financial and payment difficulties. The telephone number of the service is +358 2950 24880 (weekdays 9.00–16.00).
Liisa Huhtala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7062
Antti Neimala, Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7039