Frequently asked questions about corona

Here you will find an answer to many questions about corona restrictions.

Public events and general meetings

There are currently no assembly restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency.

However, compliance is required with the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act throughout Finland until 30 June 2022. Hygiene requirements apply to premises open to the public and reserved for customers and participants without a separate decision by the authorities. 

The hygiene requirements oblige those responsible for facilities, for example, to ensure that facilities and surfaces are cleaned more efficiently, to offer customers the opportunity to wash their hands and to ensure that customer places are set wide apart from one another. 

Read more about hygiene requirements: 

What are the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act?

Assembly restrictions (section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act)

The restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies or the municipality apply to public events and general meetings. The Regional State Administrative Agency or a municipality may impose assembly restrictions under section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act when this is necessary to prevent the spread of a generally dangerous communicable disease. Assembly restrictions limit the audience at public events and meetings.

When putting meeting restrictions in place, the Regional State Administrative Agency takes into account the guidance of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, statements by hospital districts on the regional case numbers, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's statement on the national case numbers.

If the event is a public event or meeting referred to in the Assembly Act, it is subject to assembly restrictions regardless of the venue.

Decision on safe distances (section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act)

A decision on safe distances enabled by the Communicable Diseases Act (section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act) may order that operators specified in the Act as well as some facilities used for exercise, sports or recreational activities must impose measures that enable actual compliance with safe distances in customer and business premises. 

This means that customers, participants and groups must have the opportunity to avoid physical contact with each other and to maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other if they are indoors for more than 15 minutes.  In facilities used for exercise, sports, entertainment and recreational activities, the decision must be followed regardless of the number of customers. In regards to other premises of operators, the decision must be followed if more than 10 persons are in an indoor space or more than 50 persons are in an outdoor space.

If a public event is organised in customer or business premises that is subject to a decision to effectively avoid close contact in accordance with the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act, the organiser must comply with both the assembly restrictions and the space restrictions.

Closure decision (section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act)

The decision on closures (section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act) made possible by the Communicable Diseases Act applies to indoor facilities intended for exercise and sports activities or indoor and outdoor spaces intended for entertainment and recreational activities as listed in the Act.

The Regional State Administrative Agencies' regulations on assembly restrictions apply to public events and general meetings organised indoors or in a restricted outdoor space. The definitions of public events and meetings come from the Assembly Act.

A public meeting refers to a demonstration or other event organised for the exercise of freedom of assembly in which people other than those specifically invited can participate or watch. 

Public events refer to entertainment events, competitions, shows and other similar events which are open to the public. These also include events tied to invitation or membership, unless the event can be considered private in nature on the basis of the number of participants, the nature of the event or other specific reasons.

The concept of a public event does not cover continuous, normal activities or regular activities at the workplace.

Examples of public events that are subject to meeting restrictions:

  • Concerts
  • Theatre and summer theatre shows (including shows organised in amusement park premises)
  • Movies
  • Festivals   
  • Fairs
  • Individual auctions
  • Track-and-field events and other sports matches and tournaments (e.g. baseball, football and ice hockey), if there is an audience present
  • In principle, training events and seminars open to all, including those organised by commercial service providers, which are subject to a fee
  • Pop up cafés and shops, at least when they are not in the premises of a shopping centre
  • Festivities organised by a day-care centre, school or educational institution, closing ceremonies or graduation events if others than staff and children, pupils and students attend the event 
  • Proms if there is an audience (e.g. parents of students)
  • “Penkkarit” parades
  • Drive-in events
  • Thesis defenses in universities
  • Ice fishing competitions

The Regional State Administrative Agency emphasises that it is important for each operator to take into account in their activities general instructions on hygiene and other arrangements to prevent the spread of the virus, even if the activities or the event are not covered by the restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.

Assembly restrictions do not apply to continuous, normal activities or normal operations of workplaces.

Assembly restrictions also do not apply to private events, such as a wedding party organised by private individuals, get-togethers, outdoor activities of private persons or exercise outdoors.

Meetings of authorities, such as meetings of the municipal council, board of directors and committees, are also not subject to assembly restrictions.

Meetings of joint-stock companies, associations and similar meetings between shareholders and members are generally not subject to assembly restrictions.

Examples of continuous normal operation not subject to assembly restrictions

  • Amusement parks and indoor amusement parks
  • Zoos 
  • Sport and activity parks 
  • Fun fairs
  • Outdoor market operations
  • Auction activities when the company's main business is holding auctions
  • Playgrounds   
  • Swimming pools and beaches   
  • Summer camps
  • Shows that are only streamed for the audience, i.e. there is no audience present
  • Activities of educational institutions, schools and internal events without external audiences
  • Examinations related to student selection and teaching
  • Guided tours in museums, cities or nature sites

The Regional State Administrative Agency emphasises that it is important for each operator to take into account in their activities general instructions on hygiene and other arrangements to prevent the spread of the virus, even if the activities or the event are not covered by the restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.

Assembly restrictions ordered by the Regional State Administrative Agency are different everywhere in Finland or they can apply only parts of the areas. Municipalities can also decide on assembly restrictions in their areas.

Section 58c of the Communicable Diseases Act lays down the following minimum requirements that must be complied with in all public events and meetings without a separate decision of the authorities:

  • customers and participants have access to wash their hands

  • customers and participants are provided with sufficient instructions on how to maintain adequate distance, wash hands and other similar practices that prevent the spread of the infection

  • the cleaning of facilities and surfaces will be made more efficient in addition to what is provided for elsewhere in this area.

  • the presence of customers and participants is arranged loosely in such a way that it is possible, taking into account the specific characteristics of the activity in question. If there is seating, the seats are placed sufficiently far from each other.

The hygiene requirements described above must be complied with as long as the temporary section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act is in force. The section is currently valid until 30 June 2022.

The organiser of the event is responsible for applying the instructions in practice to the arrangements of the event. The organiser is responsible for ensuring that the event is organised safely for the participants.

We highlight the responsibility of each operator and citizen to comply with the regulations, instructions and recommendations of the authorities in their activities and thus to prevent the spread of coronavirus. If case numbers increase rapidly, the municipality can put stricter local restrictions in place. Hospital districts make also recommendations for their area. Check the recommendations on the hospital district website.

NB. If the event is arranged in an area which has the licence to serve alcohol, the organiser must also comply with the obligations concerning restaurant activities, such as that each customer must have a seat at a table or a similar surface.  For more information on obligations on restaurants, see the following section.

If there are restrictions on public events in force in the area

If necessary, the physician responsible for infectious diseases in the municipality can provide advice on the local application of the general instructions.

More information about safe distances and hygiene practices: The instructions on safe distances and hygiene practices issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish)

The regulations of the Regional State Administrative Agencies concerning assembly restrictions do not apply to private events. Private events include all private events that are not open to the public, such as graduation celebrations, weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthday celebrations and private get-togethers.

Municipalities and hospital districts can make regional recommendations on organising private events. You can find the recommendations for your region on the website of your municipality or hospital district.

However, if a private event is organised in a restaurant, café or other foodservice venue, the restrictions and obligations on restaurant activities must be taken into account. These are provided for in a temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act and in decrees issued under it.

More information:

The authority of the Regional State Administrative Agency and other authorities to combat communicable diseases is based on the Communicable Diseases Act. Provisions on restricting public meetings and events are laid down in section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act. On the basis of this section, a municipality may, if the requirements laid down in the Act are met, prohibit the organisation of public meetings or events for a maximum period of one month in its own area. A similar prohibition may also be issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency when it is necessary to make such restrictions in several municipalities. 

Which public events and meetings are subject to assembly restrictions are determined on the basis of the Assembly Act. General meetings and public events are defined in section 2 of the Assembly Act.

More information (in Finnish):

Assembly restrictions depend on case numbers in the area. Our decisions on assembly restrictions are based on the infection numbers of the entire region, not on the numbers of an individual public event or premises. Regional State Administrative Agencies make decisions on assembly restrictions based on legislation and the regional case numbers. We receive regional information from hospital districts and regional corona coordination groups.

In addition to legislation and regional case numbers, in our decisions we also consider the instructions issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Government's hybrid strategy and plan for dismantling corona restrictions (“exit plan”).


More information: Guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the prevention of coronavirus. 

The Government's plan for dismantling corona restrictions is not binding on the decision-making of the Regional State Administrative Agencies.

The Government website explains that the exit plan "is based on research data, modelling, forecasts and monitoring, and it is updated according to the progress of the epidemic. The plan is not binding on decision-making by the Government or the authorities. “ More information on Government website Government plan for lifting the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

NB.

We make decisions on the use of customer and business premises when the conditions described in section 58 g or 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act are met. Similarly, we will revoke these decisions when these conditions are no longer met.

The Regional State Administrative Agency does not decide on corona restrictions for restaurants. Restrictions on restaurants are decided by the Government decree.

 A spectator area means a space from which participants can watch a show, match or some other event. The events subject to restrictions may be separately specified in the decision on restricting public gatherings. The restrictions may apply, for example, specifically to public events with standing areas for audience.

The nature of the event determines which restrictions apply to catering services.

An event at your own catering restaurant or in a space that is part of it

As a catering service entrepreneur, you must comply with the restrictions on restaurants if you arrange an event (such as a Mother's day brunch) in your own catering restaurant or in a space included in it (such as a banquet hall). In this case, the activities are considered continuous normal activities of your company and not a public event.

Public event in a space that is not a part of a restaurant

If you organise an event outside restaurant premises (e.g. in a sports hall), it is considered a public event. In this case, you must comply with restrictions on both assemblies and restaurants.

Private event in restaurant premises

If a private event in which you are a catering services entrepreneur is organised in restaurant premises, you must comply with the restrictions on restaurants. Such private events include weddings, graduation parties, confirmation parties and funerals.

Dances organised at open-air dance venues are considered public events. Therefore, the regulations of the Regional State Administrative Agencies concerning public meetings and events must be complied with when organising dances.

The organiser of a dance event must take into account the hygiene requirements laid down in section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act. For example, the organiser must ensure that there are no crowds, close rows or queues on the dance floor or when changing partners. Additional physical contacts such as unnecessary changing of partners should be avoided. More information on the hygiene requirements: What are the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act?

Dance venue at a restaurant

With regard to dances, we have instructed restaurants in the following way, which also applies to open-air dances:

  • In addition to space structures and furniture, restaurants must arrange their service activities in such a way that the exposure of customers to the spread of coronavirus is prevented. 
  • In particular, the restaurant must ensure that there is no unnecessary crowding in its premises and that there is sufficient distance between the customers. 

If food or drink is sold at a public event, such as open-air dance venues in connection with a restaurant, the organiser of the dance event must also comply with the obligations imposed on restaurants. The Government Decree on the Epidemic Law that imposes closing times on food and beverage service businesses covers the operations of the entire restaurant, including the dance area. In some regions, movement in the restaurant is restricted, which means that dancing is not possible either.

More information:

Each individual movie show is a public event referred to in the Assembly Act that does not need to be reported to the police. From the point of view of the application of section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act, the fact that movie shows are continuously organised in the cinema is irrelevant.

As regards to public meetings and events, the interpretation of section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act is based on the definitions used in the Assembly Act. Public events refer to "events, competitions, performances and other similar events that are open to the public and which cannot be considered public meetings". According to the preliminary work on the Assembly Act (Government proposal HE 145/1998), public events include art performances such as "theatre, opera, ballet and circus performances and movie shows". Performances and exhibitions that are not related to art are also considered public events. These include different commercial events. Various events in amusement parks and funfairs are also public events.

According to the preliminary work on the Assembly Act (Government Proposal HE 145/1998), public events are divided into events subject to reporting and that can be held freely; "for example, movie shows, theatre and opera exhibitions or exhibitions arranged permanently indoors as well as concerts that do not require security staff are excluded from the reporting obligation.” Such events have been excluded from the reporting obligation on the grounds that the police do not need to guide their organisation.

In addition, the Assembly Act does not distinguish between an outdoor or indoor film show, but all film shows must be considered public events under the Assembly Act. We must treat all events regarded as public events equally. We cannot deviate from the law.

Indoor spaces are spaces with a floor, roof and walls, or where a single level surface can be added to create a closed space. For example, a patio with three walls and a roof is considered an indoor space. The material of the walls or roof is irrelevant in this respect. Surfaces that can be opened, such as glass panes and marquees, also constitute a wall or level surface.

The definition is in line with the definition of interior spaces in the Tobacco Act. As a rule of thumb, if smoking is allowed somewhere, it is considered an outdoor space.

An unambiguous answer cannot be given for every case. The organisation of public events in a restaurant falls within the scope of the Regional State Administrative Agency's regulations, regardless of whether the participation requires a ticket or other approval from the organiser. Public events include entertainment events open to the public, performances, competitions and other comparable events. For example, if karaoke or bingo is part of the restaurant's continuous activities, these are not considered public events. Instead, concerts and similar events organised at a restaurant are primarily public events.

From the perspective of the interpretation of the Communicable Diseases Act, activities must be compared to the purpose of the Act and the restrictions granted under it. The purpose of the Act is to limit and prevent the risk of infection in situations where people are in relatively close contact with each other.

In any case, each operator should take into account recommendations on avoiding close contacts when considering organising events with a programme.

Public events include major motor sports, skiing, running and orientation competitions and other sports events in which anyone can participate, for example by paying a participation or admission fee. Such events are considered public events even if there is no separate audience watching the competition or event. The limit on the number of persons in decisions made by the Regional State Administrative Agency thus applies to all participants in a competition or event. 

Even if a competition or other sporting event is divided into several days, it does not automatically change the nature of the event if the event otherwise contains the characteristics of a public event. These characteristics might include traffic and safety arrangements made for the event and offering or selling food or drink at the event. 

However, the characteristics of a public event are not, in principle, met if participants are only offered the opportunity to e.g. run, ski or orientate at their own pace at a time suitable for them and in a given area without special arrangements and without marketing the event.

Official matches and competitions arranged by sports associations, participation in which requires an athlete’s licence as a rule, are not considered public events. It is also a prerequisite that no audience is present. Training matches are also not public events if they don’t have an audience.

According to the regulations of the Regional State Administrative Agency, all public events must follow the instructions on safe distances and hygiene practices issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish). This is also strongly recommended for all other events. 

When the audience is separated from artists, athletes or other operators, the number of attendees includes the audience including children of all ages. The number of attendees does not include:

  • Athletes, artists or operators that are not a part of the audience.
  • Other operators who are in the same premises or otherwise directly in contact with the audience. Such operators include personnel at sales stalls and security staff. 

The number of attendees at public events, such as sports or cultural events, depends on the assembly restrictions in the area and if the operator requires customers and those participating in the activities to present a COVID-19 passport instead of assembly restrictions. More information on COVID-19 passport: What is the COVID-19 passport?

If there is a decision in force in the area that the number of attendees must not exceed a certain number allowed in the decision, the size of the audience cannot be increased by dividing the audience into blocks or by other measures if it is not allowed in the decision.

Updated on 23.11.2021

Use of customer premises and facilities

Assembly restrictions (section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act)

The restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies or the municipality apply to public events and general meetings. The Regional State Administrative Agency or a municipality may impose assembly restrictions under section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act when this is necessary to prevent the spread of a generally dangerous communicable disease. Assembly restrictions limit the audience at public events and meetings.

When putting meeting restrictions in place, the Regional State Administrative Agency takes into account the guidance of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, statements by hospital districts on the regional case numbers, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's statement on the national case numbers.

If the event is a public event or meeting referred to in the Assembly Act, it is subject to assembly restrictions regardless of the venue.

Decision on safe distances (section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act)

A decision on safe distances enabled by the Communicable Diseases Act (section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act) may order that operators specified in the Act as well as some facilities used for exercise, sports or recreational activities must impose measures that enable actual compliance with safe distances in customer and business premises. 

This means that customers, participants and groups must have the opportunity to avoid physical contact with each other and to maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other if they are indoors for more than 15 minutes.  In facilities used for exercise, sports, entertainment and recreational activities, the decision must be followed regardless of the number of customers. In regards to other premises of operators, the decision must be followed if more than 10 persons are in an indoor space or more than 50 persons are in an outdoor space.

If a public event is organised in customer or business premises that is subject to a decision to effectively avoid close contact in accordance with the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act, the organiser must comply with both the assembly restrictions and the space restrictions.

Closure decision (section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act)

The decision on closures (section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act) made possible by the Communicable Diseases Act applies to indoor facilities intended for exercise and sports activities or indoor and outdoor spaces intended for entertainment and recreational activities as listed in the Act.

At the moment, there are no Regional State Administrative Agency decisions in force on the safe use of facilities or the closure of certain customer and public facilities. 

However, compliance is required with the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act throughout Finland until 30 June 2022. Hygiene requirements apply to premises open to the public and reserved for customers and participants without a separate decision by the authorities. 

The hygiene requirements oblige those responsible for facilities, for example, to ensure that facilities and surfaces are cleaned more efficiently, to offer customers the opportunity to wash their hands and to ensure that customer places are set wide apart from one another. 

Read more about hygiene requirements: 

What are the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act?

The decision on the use of customer premises obliges operators referred to in the Communicable Diseases Act to arrange the use of the premises in such a way that the risk of infection that comes with close contact with customers and those engaged in the activities can be avoided. Such premises include premises open to the public or intended for the presence of a restricted customer or participant group, such as shops and gym facilities. Operators and premises are listed in more detail in the question Which operators and premises are subject to the decision on the use of customer premises?

The Regional State Administrative Agency may make a decision on the use of customer premises under section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act in several municipalities. The municipality may make a decision in its own area. The decision can be issued for a maximum of one month at a time.

Once a decision on the use of customer premises has been issued, the operator must consider measures that allow customers and participants to avoid close contacts. 

The decision requires the operators to prepare a written plan of the measures that effectively avoid the risk of infection that comes with close contact. The premises cannot be used if it is not possible to arrange operations in such a way. More information in the question How do I make a written plan of the use of customer premises?

The Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality can make a decision on the use of customer premises when the conditions listed in the Communicable Diseases Act are met.

Prerequisites are that in the area of the municipality or hospital district disease clusters are identified in the area whose chains of infection cannot be reliably traced and which pose a significant risk to the spread of new infections.

More information:

Under the Communicable Diseases Act, the following actors are obligated under a decision on the use of customer premises:

  • private communities, foundations and other legal entities such as companies and associations
  • private traders, such as companies
  • local authorities and strategic partnerships,
  • religious communities such as churches and parishes
  • institutions governed by public law.

These operators must comply with the decision on the use of customer premises in premises that are open to the public or intended for the presence of a restricted customer or participant group if they are: 

  • indoor spaces where more than 10 customers or participants are at the same time 
  • restricted outdoor spaces where more than 50 customers or participants are at the same time and which are operated by the organiser at a given time. 

All customers and persons participating in the activities are considered customers and participants, but not staff.

In certain premises, the decision must be followed regardless of the number of customers and participants. These include premises used for exercise, sports or recreational activities, i.e.:

  1. indoor spaces used for team sports, group exercise, contact sports and other similar sports or exercise
  2. gyms and other similar indoor exercise facilities 
  3. public saunas and pool facilities for outdoor and indoor swimming pools, pool areas at spas and directly attached dressing rooms 
  4. dance venues and premises used by choirs, recreational theatre and other similar group activities 
  5. amusement and theme parks, funfairs and indoor spaces at zoos 
  6. indoor playgrounds 
  7. public areas in shopping centres, excluding retail business premises and facilities used for the provision of services, and access to them. 

According to the Communicable Diseases Act, decisions on the use of customer premises do not apply to: 

  • activities of educational institutions
  • activities in the scope of early childhood education and care
  • activities related to professional sports 
  • activities in the scope of private or family life
  • restaurants or other food service businesses.

The activities of restaurants are governed by section 58a of the Communicable Diseases Act and the Government Decrees on this. More information on restrictions on restaurants in the part Restaurants, cafés, bars and other food services.

More information: 

The decision issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency on the use of customer premises obliges operators referred to in the Communicable Diseases Act to arrange the use of the premises in such a way that the risk of infection that comes with close contact with customers and those engaged in the activities can be avoided. 

In other words, if the decision on the use of customer premises covers your operations, you must consider concrete measures that will ensure the safety in your premises. Implement the measures and write a plan for them as soon as possible after the decision has been notified.

The plan must be displayed in the premises so that the customers and participants can see it.

Below, you will find a plan template prepared by the Regional State Administrative Agency to help with the preparation of the plan. In addition to this, we have prepared guidelines that will help to realise the plan.

The Regional State Administrative Agency does not comment on individual plans, but provides general instructions. Therefore, do not send the plan to the Regional State Administrative Agency for approval.

Plan template:

Instructions for making a plan

The plan template of the Regional State Administrative Agency asks about measures that effectively avoid the risk of infection that comes with close contact with customers and those engaged in the activities. This can be achieved by either:

  • limiting the number of customers
  • arranging the seating, or
  • in some other way that takes into account the special features of the operations.

The form is designed to be made available to customers, except for the personal data contained therein.

Take action in a way that is suitable for the features of your space, such as its size, possible fixed structures, location of customer seating, and normal customer activity in the space.

Further questions to help with the preparation of the plan:

  • What are the principles of avoiding the risk of infection that comes with close contacts in premises of different sizes and types?
    • How is customers' movement in the premises controlled (e.g. signs or stickers about safe distances)?
    • How do you prevent crowding?
    • Is it possible to stagger the access of customers or participants?
    • What is a safe number of people and how can this number be controlled?
    • Are there any special arrangements made at the premises or have protective structures (e.g. plexi glasses) been installed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus?
    • How is the chance to wash hands arranged so that there is no crowding?
    • Is it possible to enhance ventilation of the premise?
    • Is it possible to recommend face masks for customers or participants?
  • What other ways can be utilised, taking into account the special features of the activities?
  • How will the customer numbers be restricted if other measures taken (customer seating, space arrangements or other means) are not sufficient?

More information:

Updated on 3.12.2021

The Regional State Administrative Agency can make a decision requiring the closure of certain customer and business premises for a maximum period of two weeks.

The decision on closures concerns operators responsible for the management of the premises used for exercise, sports, entertainment or recreational activities in the following premises:

  1. indoor spaces used for team sports, group exercise, contact sports and other similar sports or physical activity
  2. gyms and other similar indoor exercise facilities
  3. public saunas and pool facilities for outdoor and indoor swimming pools, pool areas at spas and directly attached dressing rooms
  4. dance venues and premises used by choirs, recreational theatre and other similar group activities
  5. amusement and theme parks, funfairs and indoor spaces at zoos
  6. indoor playgrounds
  7. public areas in shopping centres, excluding retail business premises and facilities used for the provision of services, and access to them.

The decision on closures applies to premises that are open to the public or intended for the presence of a restricted customer or participant group.

However, premises that have been ordered to close can still be used for

  • recreational activities of children and young people born in 2008 and after 
  • statutory services, such as medical rehabilitation, physical education in schools and the organisation of corona vaccinations.

Closure decisions do not apply to: 

  • activities related to professional sports 
  • activities in the scope of private or family life

Examples of sports and recreational facilities in the scope of the closure decision: 

  • Gyms 
  • Group exercise facilities (e.g. spinning, aerobic or yoga facilities) 
  • Indoor spaces used for team sports (e.g. skating rinks, indoor football halls, volleyball halls) 
  • Climbing gyms 
  • Indoor spaces intended for contact sports, such as dojos, boxing gyms, tatamis, wrestling gyms etc. 
  • Ballrooms and outdoor dance stages 
  • Air domes that are used for team sports, group exercise, contact sports or other similar sports. 
  • Badminton, padel, squash, tennis, etc. fields (indoor playing fields) 
  • Facilities used for group recreational activities, e.g. choirs, recreational theatre 

Examples of sports and recreational facilities not covered by the closure decision: 

  • Indoor riding arenas 
  • Shooting and archery ranges 
  • Bowling alleys 
  • Indoor golf courses and golf simulators
  • Pool/billiard rooms
  • Karting tracks 
  • Dog agility courses
  • Escape room games
  • Indoor skateparks

How sports facilities affected by closures are defined 

The Communicable Diseases Act (section 58 g) orders the closure of indoor spaces used for exercise and sports activities that can be used for team sports, group exercise, contact sports and other similar sports or exercise. In addition, indoor spaces under the closure decision are exercise and sports facilities comparable to gym facilities. Sports facilities covered by the closure decision are examined through this definition. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency considers that e.g. horseback riding is a sport and indoor riding arenas are indoor spaces intended for exercise, but riding arenas cannot be considered comparable to gyms or other indoor spaces used for sports or exercise as referred to in the Act. The same applies to indoor spaces used for such purposes as bowling, archery or billiards.

What counts as group exercise? 

Group exercise is where a group is instructed simultaneously in a shared activity. For example, various sports classes and water gym classes are considered group exercise. An example of a situation that does not constitute group exercise is where a few individual swimmers do individual exercises under the guidance of a shared instructor. Meditation that does not involve physical activity is also excluded from the decision to close premises. Group exercise is prohibited in the premises covered by the closure decision regardless of the type of the facility. 

Read more: How is indoor space defined?

Temporary closure of customer and business premises (section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act) is the last resort. Facilities can be closed for a maximum of two weeks at a time. The closure of the premises applies to certain customer and business premises. More information: Which operators or premises fall under the scope of decisions on closures under the Communicable Diseases Act?

A decision on the temporary closure of premises may only be made if the following conditions are met: 

  • the incidence of infections detected during the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants is at least 50 in the hospital district and
  • disease clusters are identified in the area whose chains of infection cannot be reliably traced and which pose a significant risk to the spread of new infections, and 
  • the number of infections in the area is estimated to lead to overwhelming the social welfare and health care system.

In addition, another prerequisite is that other measures already taken to prevent the spread of the virus cannot be considered sufficient and the closure of the premises is necessary to prevent the uncontrollable spread of the coronavirus. 

The decision to temporarily close premises obliges all the companies and operators responsible for the management of the premises mentioned in the decision. 

Ordering the closure of premises as a result of non-compliance 

The Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality may issue an order concerning an individual operator or premises to suspend operations and close the premises for a maximum period of one month if shortcomings in their operations have been identified.

Before issuing an order to suspend operations and close the premises, the operator shall be given an order to remedy the deficiencies and shortcomings within a reasonable time limit.

You can apply for compensation for closures from the State Treasury. The Regional State Administrative Agency does not accept or process compensation applications.

More information:

Section 58c of the Communicable Diseases Act lays down the following minimum requirements that must be complied with in premises open to the public and reserved for customers and participants without a separate decision of the authorities:

  • customers and participants have access to wash their hands
  • customers and participants are provided with sufficient instructions on how to maintain adequate distance, wash hands and other similar practices that prevent the spread of the infection
  • the cleaning of facilities and surfaces will be made more efficient in addition to what is provided for elsewhere in this area.
  • the presence of customers and participants is arranged loosely in such a way that it is possible, taking into account the specific characteristics of the activity in question. If there is seating, the seats are placed sufficiently far from each other.

The hygiene requirements must be complied with as long as the temporary section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act is in force. The section is currently valid until 30 June 2022.

We also recommend that other means of preventing the spread of coronavirus, as mentioned in the guidelines by THL and the Ministry of Education and Culture be followed.

More information:

Section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act defines certain hygiene requirements that apply to a wide variety of customer and business premises. The parties listed below must take these hygiene requirements into account in their activities without a separate decision by the authorities.

Hygiene requirements apply to:

  • private associations, foundations and other legal entities (excluding restaurants)  
  • private traders   
  • local authorities and strategic partnerships   
  • religious communities    
  • institutions governed by public law.  

These operators must follow hygiene requirements in indoor spaces open to the public or intended for the presence of a restricted customer or participant group, as well as in outdoor areas that have been defined by area and activity, in other words spaces

  • where the number of persons usually varies, 
  • which are open to customers and participants during given opening hours, 
  • the use of which is based, for example, on membership or other contractual relationship, or  
  • the use of which is based on the provision of a statutory service, such as schools and early childhood education and care.

These include different business facilities, lobby and waiting spaces, teaching facilities, recreational facilities, gyms, other sports facilities, etc.

A regionally and functionally limited outdoor space means that the space is used at a given time for a specific purpose for customers or other participants, and the organiser is responsible for using the area in question for the activities in question. These include different outdoor stands and bleachers, amusement parks, festival areas or waiting areas.

The hygiene requirements of the Communicable Diseases Act do not apply to premises when used for private or family activities. However, we also recommend taking into account general hygiene guidelines.

You can ask your municipality for further instructions on how to implement hygiene requirements.

More information:

Different restrictions apply to restaurants and event, sport and culture sectors as they are subject to different laws. Below, we have described the background to different restrictions.

  • Restaurant restrictions are decided by Parliament and the Government on the basis of the Constitution. The temporary section 3 a of the Act on Accommodation and Restaurant Operations, on the basis of which the Government has been able to issue decrees on the closure of restaurants, is no longer valid after 18 April. From 19 April onwards, the safe operation of restaurants will be guided by restrictions on, for example, alcohol serving and opening hours. More information: What restrictions on restaurant activities apply in different areas?
     

  • Events of the event, sports and culture sector are public events under the Assembly Act. The Regional State Administrative Agencies make assembly restrictions under section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act. 

    Assembly restrictions apply to all public events. Assembly restrictions are based on the infection numbers of the entire region, not on the numbers of an individual public event or premises. We receive regional information from hospital districts and corona coordination groups. More information: On what basis will the Regional State Administrative Agency decide on assembly restrictions?
     

  • Private customer and business premises, such as gyms, can be closed on the basis of section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act. Which customer and business premises may or may not be open are defined in that section. The Act also contains detailed requirements on when the Regional State Administrative Agency must close the premises. Closure decisions are based on the infection numbers of the entire region, not on the numbers of individual spaces like gyms. More information: When can the Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality make a closure decision?

Municipalities have the possibility to close their own public premises or issue assembly restrictions on their own area which are stricter than the Regional State Administrative Agency's decision on the entire region. Municipalities may also close private premises in their area in accordance with section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act. In addition, municipalities may make recommendations.

Restaurants, cafés, bars and other food services

There are currently no restrictions on restaurant activities.

The restrictions on restaurants will be reconsidered if there are changes in the epidemiological situation and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals increases significantly.

The Regional State Administrative Agency does not decide on corona restrictions for restaurants. Restrictions on restaurants are made by the Government decree.

General obligations for restaurants throughout Finland

Below is a summary of the key obligations that restaurants must comply with throughout Finland until 30 June 2022:

  • Customers are provided with information and instructions to help them act correctly and prevent coronavirus infections.
  • Customers have the chance to wash their hands.
  • There is sufficient distance between customers both indoors and outdoors. 
  • The restaurant and especially its surfaces are kept clean.
  • The restaurant must prepare a plan describing the measures taken to prevent infections.
  • You can find more information on general obligations and guidelines on our webpage Restaurants and coronavirus.

The website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare contains materials related to coronavirus that restaurants can utilise in their own operation and communications (in Finnish): Communication materials about coronavirus.

Updated on 3.6.2022

If you notice that the restaurant is operating in violation of regulations, you should first ask the restaurant staff to show you the plan describing how the activities of the restaurant have taken into account operational restrictions and hygiene arrangements to prevent coronavirus infections. Under the Communicable Diseases Act, the restaurant administrator is obliged to prepare the aforementioned plan and make it available to the customer upon request. The summary of the plan must be visible in the restaurant when the customer arrives at the restaurant.

If the restaurant operator does not comply with the plan or the plan is not available in accordance with the law, you can contact the Regional State Administrative Agency. We are mainly monitoring on the basis of reports, focusing on the most serious violations. You can contact the email address of Alcohol Licensing in your region:

The activities of restaurants have been restricted by a temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act (new section 58 a) and by Government Decrees issued under it. The Government decides on restrictions for restaurants by adopting decrees amending or extending the restrictions. The Government monitors the progress of the epidemic in each region and ensures that only the restrictions necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic are in use in each region.

The regulations of the Regional State Administrative Agencies on the organisation of public events also apply to events organised in restaurants. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency does not make decisions on the content or scope of restrictions on restaurants' activities. It is the responsibility of the Regional State Administrative Agency to ensure that the activities of restaurants comply with the restrictions laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and the decrees issued under it.

Restaurants have the right to require the use of the COVID-19 passport throughout their opening hours throughout the country.

Updated on 3.1.2022

Yes. If a restaurant has introduced use of the COVID-19 passport and no alcohol is served at the restaurant, the restaurant may be open until 20:00 in areas where the restaurant restrictions are in force. There is no need to discontinue or alter the restaurant’s serving licence.

Updated on 29.12.2021

Compliance with restrictions on restaurant activities and the serving of alcoholic beverages and obligations related to checking the COVID-19 passport is also required at billiard halls, bowling halls and other similar sports facilities if restaurant activities are carried out in the premises. 

If restaurant activities are not actually carried out in a billiard hall, a bowling hall or another similar space separate from a restaurant during opening hours, it can be considered that restrictions on restaurant activities do not oblige the operator (even if the premises have otherwise been approved as e.g. a licensed area). 

In this case, the operator must ensure that the COVID-19 passport of all restaurant customers have been checked (if the corona passport is in use at the restaurant). The operator must also ensure that customers whose COVID-19 passport has not been checked do not stay in the restaurant premises. The operating method must be recorded in the restaurant's infectious disease plan.

The operator must also see to and take into account any other regional restrictions imposed by the municipality or the Regional State Administrative Agency.

The operator is responsible for ensuring that its actions are appropriate.

Updated on 2.2.2022

The nature of the event determines which restrictions apply to catering services.

An event at your own catering restaurant or in a space that is part of it

As a catering service entrepreneur, you must comply with the restrictions on restaurants if you arrange an event (such as a Mother's day brunch) in your own catering restaurant or in a space included in it (such as a banquet hall). In this case, the activities are considered continuous normal activities of your company and not a public event.

Public event in a space that is not a part of a restaurant

If you organise an event outside restaurant premises (e.g. in a sports hall), it is considered a public event. In this case, you must comply with restrictions on both assemblies and restaurants.

Private event in restaurant premises

If a private event in which you are a catering services entrepreneur is organised in restaurant premises, you must comply with the restrictions on restaurants. Such private events include weddings, graduation parties, confirmation parties and funerals.

The operator of a service station must arrange the functions for which customers are not required to have a COVID-19 passport, such as distribution of fuel, retail sale or sale of take-out food, in such a way that it is safe these functions are safe for customers. Customers must be provided information on the operator's procedures.

The restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants do not apply to restaurants operating in connection with the fuel distribution station (service station). However, restaurants operating in connection with  service stations are subject to other restaurant restrictions, such as the time limit for serving alcohol and the number of customer places. If the COVID-19 passport has been introduced as an alternative to restrictions in a restaurant operating in connection with a service station, every restaurant customer’s COVID-19 passport must be checked. 

The operator must also ensure that customers whose COVID-19 passport has not been checked do not stay in the restaurant premises. 

The operator is responsible for ensuring that its actions are appropriate.

Updated on 27.12.2021

All restaurant customers must have their own seat at a table or a similar surface in some regions. Sitting in a seat at a bar counter is permitted. However, restaurants have an obligation to maintain a sufficient distance between customers and between customers and staff.

The requirement for seating at a table or similar surface also applies to restaurant activities of various events and stands and bleachers classified as an alcohol serving area. The adjacent seat, the support structures of the bleachers or the concrete floor level in front of the bleachers do not form a table or surface as referred to in the law. A picnic blanket or similar fabric placed on the ground does not meet the definition of a table or equivalent surface.

The requirement for a seat and a table or equivalent surface is based on the fact that safe distances between customers must be maintained and can also be monitored. Safe distances are essential to prevent the spread of infectious disease. The table or similar surface must be easily accessible for the customer and at a sufficient distance from others to maintain the safe distance to other customers.

If the whole venue of the public event is an area with a licence to serve alcohol, each customer must have a seat at a table or similar surface in the regions where this is currently required.

A possible requirement for a seat at a table or similar surface also applies to restaurant activities and serving alcohol in the stands or bleachers in connection with various events. An adjacent seat does not form a table or surface as intended by law. The requirement for a seat and restrictions on movement come from restrictions on restaurant activities.

If the event does not take place in an area that serves alcohol, each participant does not need to have their own seat. The provisions on public events do not oblige participants to have their own seat.

Enforcement fees are based on the Alcohol Act and as the Regional State Administrative Agency is a permit and enforcement authority, it has no possibility to deviate from these fees. 

It is not possible to pause an alcohol serving licence or an extended time permit and the related enforcement fee during the current legislation. The restaurant must cancel the licence for serving alcohol completely if it does not wish to pay the enforcement fee.

If the restaurant announces no later than 31 March that it will terminate the licence to serve alcohol (including the extended time permit), no enforcement fee will be charged in the future. 

If the licence is terminated, the restaurant must apply for a new licence for serving alcohol before it starts serving alcohol again. When applying for a new licence, the restaurant will be charged a fee for processing the licence application. The licence fee is specified in the decree.

If the restaurant interrupts its operations in such a way that the licence for serving alcohol remains valid, the enforcement fee must still be paid even if the restaurant is not currently operating. It should be noted, however, that the enforcement fee is based on the amount of alcohol served, so if the restaurant cannot serve alcohol during its closure, the enforcement fee might be smaller. You can apply to the Regional State Administrative Agency for an adjustment to the enforcement fee. The invoice contains instructions for making a claim for rectification.

The Government or the State Treasury will decide on any exceptions to the collection of enforcement fees. There is currently no information on such exceptions.

More information:

The restrictions on restaurant activities do not apply to the sale of take-out food to customers, and a restaurant does not thus responsible for checking the COVID-19 passport of customers buying take-out food, even though the restaurant might be required to do so for its other customers.

If the restaurant uses the COVID-19 passport, these must be checked in a manner that is safe for all customers. The COVID-19 passport of a customer picking up take-out food must also be checked, if the customer remains in the premises.

The operator is responsible for ensuring that its actions are appropriate.

Updated on 27.12.2021

The regulations of the Regional State Administrative Agencies on the organisation of public events also apply to events organised in restaurants.

Public events include entertainment events, performances, competitions and other comparable events that are open to the public. In other words, if the restaurant hosts events by guest performers, in addition to restrictions on restaurant activities, the provisions of the Regional State Administrative Agency concerning the organisation of public events must be taken into account when organising the event.

More on public events: Public events and general meetings

Yes, the restrictions on the operation of restaurants and cafés also apply to private events organised in them. Requirements for hygiene and safe distances must be taken into account. In addition, restrictions on opening hours and alcohol serving hours as well as any restrictions on customer numbers must be taken into account.

There must be sufficient room for customers, and the customer seats must be placed at a sufficient distance from each other. Restaurants must ensure in particular that there is no unnecessary crowding in its premises and that the arrival of customers in the restaurant is carried out so that a sufficient distance between customers and groups is maintained. 

Updated on 1.10.2021.

The outdoor areas of the restaurants, such as terraces, are subject to the regional restrictions on serving alcohol and opening hours laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and the Decree issued under it. The customer restrictions on restaurants do not apply to restaurants' outdoor areas.

In addition, the restaurant must ensure the cleanliness of the surfaces and sufficient distances between the customers.

In some regions, each customer must have their own seat at the table or at a similar surface even in the outdoor spaces. More information: What restrictions on restaurant activities apply in different areas?

A restaurant terrace may not have more than two walls in addition to the roof. Indoor spaces are spaces with a floor, roof and walls, or where a single level surface can be added to create a closed space. If a terrace has three walls and a roof, it is considered an indoor space and subject to indoor restrictions of the number of customers and persons. The material of the walls or roof is irrelevant in this respect. Surfaces that can be opened, such as glass panes and marquees, also constitute a wall or level surface. The definition is in line with the definition of interior spaces in the Tobacco Act. As a rule of thumb, if smoking is allowed somewhere, it is considered an outdoor space.

COVID-19 passport


The corona passport can be used as an alternative to restrictions again from 1.3.2022

The passport can then be released from the restrictions. If there are no restrictions, a passport is not required. The situation is the same as in the fall of 2021 before the passport was frozen. The passport will in principle be valid for as long as the passport provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act remain in force, ie until the end of June 2022. The working group is preparing new passport legislation in case the disease situation worsens.

The law does not comment on whether an interest rate passport can be required to be presented if no restrictions apply. The operator may, at its own discretion and at its own risk, decide to use the interest rate pass without a valid restriction decision. In this case, the operator bears the legal responsibility for its actions and possible sanctions.

The Regional State Administrative Agency monitors the use of the corona passport only when the operator has introduced the corona passport as an alternative to the existing regional corona restrictions.


 

The Regional State Administrative Agency doesn't help citizens with the use of the COVID-19 passport. Citizens can find comprehensive information on the COVID-19 passport here:

The COVID-19 passport is a EU digital COVID-19 certificate which you can download from Omakanta. The EU COVID-19 certificate contains three different certificates: A certificate of coronavirus vaccination, a certificate of coronavirus test results and a certificate of already having had COVID-19. All three certificates also serve as a COVID-19 passport. 

Business operators may introduce a COVID-19 passport as an option to existing regional corona restrictions, in which case the passport would allow access to different events. The Regional State Administrative Agency helps operators with the use of the COVID-19 passport.

Read more: 

The freezing of the national corona pass will end on 28 February. The passport can then be released from the restrictions. If there are no restrictions, a passport is not required. The situation is the same as in the fall of 2021 before the passport was frozen.

The passport will in principle be valid for as long as the passport provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act remain in force, ie until the end of June 2022.

The working group is preparing new passport legislation in case the disease situation worsens.

The Government issued a decree to temporarily restrict the use of the COVID-19 passport as an alternative to regional restrictions on the use of premises and to assembly restrictions limiting the number of people attending public events to 28 February 2022.

If they so wish, operators may still require a COVID-19 passport from customers in public and business premises or at public events, even though the passport does not exempt them from the restrictions. The COVID-19 passport may be required if valid restrictions apply to the use of the premises or the number of people attending the event and if it is possible to introduce the COVID-19 passport in the premises.

Please note: The use of the COVID-19 passport does not exempt from restrictions if the Regional State Administrative Agency has banned public events of all sizes in the area or ordered the closure of customer and business premises. 

Restaurant restrictions 

The use of the COVID-19 passport exempts restaurants from the current restrictions from 1 March 2022. Further information: What restrictions on restaurant activities apply in different areas? 

Further information: 

Updated on 28 February 2022

The use of the COVID-19 passport as an alternative to following assembly restrictions applies to the entire event. The organiser of the public event or meeting cannot specify the spaces where the COVID-19 passport is an alternative to restrictions.

The requirement for a COVID-19 passport does not apply to the employees or performers of the event or, for example:

  • players or officials at a sports match
  • exhibitors and sellers at fairs
  • voluntary workers who work at the event.

The COVID-19 passport is not checked from these persons even if they are in the same premises with the public or otherwise in direct contact with the public. However, if such a person goes to watch the event after their duties are finished, they must show the COVID-19 passport like the other customers if the organiser requires it.

Updated on 3.12.2021

The Regional State Administrative Agency and the municipality supervise compliance with the obligations and restrictions laid down regarding the COVID-19 passport and the decisions concerning them.

How does the Regional State Administrative Agency monitor the use of the COVID-19 passport? 

The Regional State Administrative Agency guides the supervision carried out by municipalities and maintains an overview of different areas related to the inspections carried out and any shortcomings observed. In addition, the Regional State Administrative Agency may submit a request to the municipality for supervision concerning compliance with the restrictions of the business operator, i.e. whether the operator complies with the decision or whether it has an obligation to present a corona certificate. 
 
For example, the Regional State Administrative Agency may oblige the operator to check the customers for the COVID-19 passport if the supervision authority suspects that the certificates have not been checked. 

The provision on the use of premises in accordance with section 58d of the Communicable Diseases Act does not apply to professional sports and must not prevent anyone's right to statutory services. As a result, it is not necessary to require the COVID-19 passport from professional athletes or, for example, Kela rehabilitees participating in a statutory service.

The requirement for the COVID-19 passport also does not apply to persons in an employment or civil service relationship. The COVID-19 passport is not required if a person in an employment or public service relationship is working in the premises or enters the premises to carry out their work duties. For example, coaches in an employment relationship are not required to have a COVID-19 passport. However, the requirement for the COVID-19 passport as an alternative to following the regulations in customer and public premises applies to, for example, amateurs, competitors and coaches if they are not employed.

More information on employment relationships and its definition:

There are still general hygiene obligations in force in all parts of Finland. These obligations require restaurants to inform their customers in a clearly visible way that a person with symptoms matching coronavirus infection may not enter the restaurant. This obligation cannot be disregarded even if a restaurant starts using the COVID-19 passport. 

If there are valid restrictions on restaurant activities imposed by a government decree or a decision on assembly restrictions or the use of premises, as an alternative to the restrictions, the operator may require customers and those participating in the activities to present a COVID-19 passport to enter the public event or space.  
 
If the operator has introduced the use of the COVID-19 passport: 

  • A restaurant does not need to comply with the restrictions concerning the arrival of customers and their being in the premises laid down in the Government decree in force in the area. The restrictions on the arrival of customers and their being in the premises laid down in section 3, subsections 1 and 2 of the Government Decree apply to all regions until 31 March 2022.
  • Compliance with the number of participants or restrictions on the placement of participants is not necessary for public events.
  • In customer and public spaces, there is no need to limit the number of customers or participants or make arrangements related to customer placement or facilities, for example, to prevent risks caused by close contacts.

If the operator has introduced the obligation to present the passport, it cannot allow any customer or person involved in the activities to enter the public event or space without the certificate. The exception is children under the age of 16 who are not subject to the obligation to present a certificate. The operator must ensure that a customer who does not have a COVID-19 passport is less than 16 years old. 
 
The hygiene requirements laid down in section 58 c of the Infectious Diseases Act must be complied with in customer and participant premises and events. Restaurants must comply with the general obligations laid down in section 58a. 

More information: What are the hygiene requirements laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act?  

When can I not use the COVID-19 passport? 

The COVID-19 passport cannot be used as an alternative to restrictions if the municipality or the Regional State Administrative Agency has completely prohibited the organisation of public events. 

Updated on 14.3.2022

The operator may not require the COVID-19 passport in premises and places that can be considered necessary or essential for normal life or statutory rights. 

The COVID-19 passport can not be required in these spaces, for example: 

  • pharmacies,  
  • retail shops,  
  • post offices,  
  • service stations or  
  • libraries  

Such statutory or essential services also include all official services and public administrative tasks.

In addition, the COVID-19 passport can not be required in public events. Public events refer to entertainment events, competitions, shows and other similar events which are open to the public. 

See also the question Where can I use the COVID-19 passport?

As an alternative to restrictions, operators may introduce the use of the COVID-19 passport in premises that are used by customers during their free time for recreational purposes. Such premises include: 

  1. indoor and outdoor spaces used for public events;  
  2. restaurant premises;  
  3. gym and other indoor facilities used for sports or exercise;  
  4. public saunas and pool facilities for outdoor and indoor swimming pools, pool areas at spas and directly attached or nearby dressing rooms;  
  5. dance venues and premises used by choirs, recreational theatre and other similar group activities;  
  6. amusement and theme parks, funfairs and indoor spaces at zoos;  
  7. indoor playgrounds;  
  8. museums, exhibition spaces and other similar cultural spaces, such as art galleries. 

See also the question Where can i not use the COVID-19 passport?

Legislation does not specify how customers should be notified that a facility is using COVID-19 passports. Operators must describe their use of the COVID-19 passport in their self-regulation plan in line with the Communicable Diseases Act. Therefore, restaurants can decide independently how to handle this matter. An effective way of informing customers about the COVID-19 passport is placing instructions at the entrance to the restaurant. 

The COVID-19 certificate reader application will be disabled on 1 June 2022. The app will continue to be available in the app store, but it will not be possible to download it to your phone. 

Read more in the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's press release in Finnish:

The COVID-19 certificate reader application will be disabled on 1 June 2022. The app will continue to be available in the app store, but it will not be possible to download it to your phone. 

Read more in the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's press release in Finnish:

When an interpreter or personal assistant accompanying a customer acts as the customer's employee, they may not be required to present a COVID-19 passport. However, if such a person becomes a customer after their duties, they must present a COVID-19 passport just like the other customers if the organiser requires this.

Further information:

The COVID-19 passport shows the name of the person registered for the COVID-19 passport and the validity of the passport. However, the COVID-19 passport is not an identity card that could be used to verify the identity of a customer or participant.

 

If there is reasonable suspicion about the identity of a customer or a participant, their identity must be verified when you check their COVID-19 passport.

As of 23 December 2021, a COVID-19 certificate presented upon entry into the country can be used as a COVID-19 passport instead of the EU Digital Covid Certificate. This amendment will extend the use of the COVID-19 passport to foreign nationals residing in Finland for a short period of time who cannot obtain an EU Digital COVID Certificate but who can upon entry into the country provide a reliable certificate of a full series of coronavirus vaccinations or of having contracted COVID-19 no more than six months prior. 

The requirement to check certificates with an electronic COVID-19 passport reader does not apply to these certificates. The certificate must be presented to be admitted to a facility or an event if the organiser has introduced the COVID-19 passport as an alternative to the current restrictions. 

The EU's COVID-19 passport system also includes many countries outside the European Union, such as the United Kingdom and Turkey. If a country has agreed with the EU on the compatibility of COVID-19 certificates, the COVID-19 certificates of that country will be considered as an EU COVID-19 certificate.

If a foreign national is residing in Finland for a long period of time, the person may ask the municipal health authorities in Finland to issue them an EU COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Each municipality informs its residents of local operating models for issuing an EU COVID-19 certificate. The EU COVID-19 certificate may only be issued for vaccine products authorised for sale by the European Commission and listed for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

If a foreign national coming to Finland for a short-term stay from a country outside the EU COVID-19 certificate system only has a certificate of a negative coronavirus test upon entry into Finland, they can obtain an EU COVID-19 certificate of a negative test by taking a new test in Finland. The test can be taken with a private operator but it is a good idea to check with them if they are able to prepare and print out an EU COVID-19 certificate.

Further information:

 Updated 7 January 2022

In child and youth hobbies and competitions, the COVID-19 passport can be required of participants aged over 16 and of parents in official roles at premises where the passport can (overall) be used. Using the COVID-19 passport has been temporarily restricted until 20 January 2022, which means that restrictions concerning premises cannot be bypassed with the passport. An operator responsible for premises can still require the COVID-19 passport in addition to compliance with the restrictions.

Premises used for hobbies can be closed by a decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency, but premises closed with such a decision may be used for child and youth hobbies and competitions for children born in 2003 or later. General restrictions concerning the use of premises must still be observed when using otherwise closed premises. Audience members or other third parties may not be admitted to the premises. 

Note that the closure of premises does not apply to outdoor sports facilities. The COVID-19 passport cannot be required for activities organised outdoors. 

Further information: 

Roles and powers of the authorities

The Regional State Administrative Agency and the municipality supervise compliance with the obligations and restrictions laid down regarding the COVID-19 passport and the decisions concerning them.

How does the Regional State Administrative Agency monitor the use of the COVID-19 passport? 

The Regional State Administrative Agency guides the supervision carried out by municipalities and maintains an overview of different areas related to the inspections carried out and any shortcomings observed. In addition, the Regional State Administrative Agency may submit a request to the municipality for supervision concerning compliance with the restrictions of the business operator, i.e. whether the operator complies with the decision or whether it has an obligation to present a corona certificate. 
 
For example, the Regional State Administrative Agency may oblige the operator to check the customers for the COVID-19 passport if the supervision authority suspects that the certificates have not been checked. 

When deciding on assembly restrictions, we have not been able to wait for the two to three weeks that hearings typically take because in our decision we must consider the acute danger to human health and public safety and the reports on the epidemic available to us from the health authorities.

Regional State Administrative Agencies may make decisions on assembly restrictions in accordance with section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act for a maximum of one month at a time. Each individual decision must be based on the most up-to-date information from the hospital district of the region on the epidemiological situation in the region. In addition, when we make a decision, we need to be able to assess how the epidemiological situation in the region is likely to develop in the four weeks following its entry into force.

According to the Administrative Procedure Act (section 34), the person to be heard must be given sufficient time after the hearing to submit a report. In addition, seven days must be reserved for the notification of the hearing letter and of the decision.

If we were to reserve time for hearings on the decisions on assembly restrictions, this would significantly delay decision-making. Thus, the decision would be based on already outdated information on the epidemiological situation in the region. A hearing could jeopardise the realisation of the purpose of the decision. Delays in the processing of the case as a result of the hearing could cause significant harm to human health, public safety or the environment.

In accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act, the Regional State Administrative Agency guides and coordinates preparedness and the prevention of communicable diseases in its area. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency supervises that municipalities, joint municipal authorities and hospital districts are prepared regionally for public health emergencies and that social welfare services and customer safety can also be secured appropriately in everyday emergencies. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency collects information about preparedness efforts, coordinates and, if necessary, takes enforcement measures appropriate for the situation. Regional State Administrative Agencies have a join representative in the working group for social and health care preparedness and the operative group subject to the working group. Both groups are governed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency imposes assembly restrictions for public meetings and events in several municipalities. The body responsible for the prevention of communicable diseases in a municipality may make corresponding restrictions on the area of its municipality. The authority of the Regional State Administrative Agency extends to restricting and banning public events and meetings. The Regional State Administrative Agency cannot restrict private events. In addition, the Regional State Administrative Agency may restrict the use of customer and business premises as a result of the temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act.

The Regional State Administrative Agency may, for example, order a municipality to organise a targeted health examination in its area, as part of which a coronavirus sample can be taken. In principle, participating in a health check is voluntary. The Regional State Administrative Agency may also decide that participation in a health check is compulsory.

The monitoring of restrictions caused by coronavirus is divided between several authorities. Commercial and social actors also have an obligation to ensure that the epidemic does not become worse with their own responsible actions and planning. Monitoring responsibilities related to communicable diseases are described in the Communicable Diseases Act. 

Monitoring the closure of premises, prevention of the risk infections caused by close contact in customer premises and health safety considerations in operations

In cooperation with the Regional State Administrative Agency, the municipality is responsible for supervising compliance with the following legal provisions. 

Compliance with the above regulations and obligations described in the Act is the responsibility of the operator responsible for the premises. Compliance with them is mainly supervised by municipal officials responsible for communicable diseases or environmental health supervisors. They can  

  • carry out inspections in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act in addition to inspections in accordance with the Food Act and the Health Protection Act.  
  • carry out inspections on the basis of epidemiological information or, for example, on the basis of observations on shortcomings received from customers under the Communicable Diseases Act.  
  • carry out inspections at the request of the Regional State Administrative Agency.  

If you notice any non-compliances with the above-mentioned orders or obligations in customer or business premises, e.g. in shopping centres or shops, you can report your observation to the municipal body responsible for combating communicable diseases. The notification can also be submitted to the municipal environmental health care service, which will examine the need for supervision with the local authority for communicable diseases or the Regional State Administrative Agency.

Inspections can be carried out at sites

  • on the basis of epidemiological information or, for example, on the basis of observations on shortcomings received from customers under the Communicable Diseases Act.  
  • in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act in addition to inspections in accordance with the Food Act and the Health Protection Act.  
  • at the request of the Regional State Administrative Agency.

The Regional State Administrative Agency guides the supervision carried out by municipalities and maintains an overview of different areas related to the inspections carried out and any shortcomings observed. We can also make supervision requests to municipalities. 

Monitoring of restaurants

Provisions on the corona restrictions on restaurants' activities are laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and a Government Decree supplementing and specifying the Act. In other words, the Regional State Administrative Agency does not decide on these restrictions.

The operator of a restaurant, café or other catering business is obliged to plan their activities to comply with the restrictions granted and to prepare a plan for customers in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act. 

The Regional State Administrative Agency supervises that restaurants comply with the restrictions on e.g. opening hours and customer numbers. Our alcohol licensing inspectors carry out inspections at restaurants in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act. Based on the supervision, we can order the restaurant to rectify their operations within a certain time limit. In the most serious violations, we can order the restaurant to be closed for a maximum of one month. We can also ask the police for executive assistance for supervision. 

Many restaurant inspections carried out by the Regional State Administrative Agency during the corona pandemic are based on reports received from customers. If you suspect that a restaurant is in violation of the restrictions given, you can notify the Alcohol Administration at the Regional State Administrative Agency. More information: Contact information.

Monitoring public events and meetings

On the basis of section 58 of the Communicable Diseases Act, Regional State Administrative Agencies may make meeting restrictions concerning public events and meetings. Each event organiser is responsible for complying with the valid regulations and recommendations and for planning the activities in accordance with the instructions issued.

If you notice any activity that you consider to be against assembly restrictions, you should first and foremost discuss the matter with the organiser of the event. If that doesn't work, you can report the issues to the police officers who monitor public order and security. The police may intervene in clear violations of the assembly restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency and, if necessary, in other meetings if they pose a threat to public order and safety. You can also report your observations related to public events to the municipal body responsible for combating communicable diseases. The notification can also be submitted to the municipal environmental health care service, which will examine the need for supervision with the local authority for communicable diseases or the Regional State Administrative Agency.

If you find that an area at an event where alcohol is served is in violation with the restrictions given to restaurants, you can notify the local alcohol administration at the Regional State Administrative Agency. More information: Contact information.

Updated on 30 December 2021

The prevention of communicable diseases is part of social welfare and health care. The responsibilities of the authorities and cooperation between them are defined in the Communicable Diseases Act 1227/2016. The Act is supplemented by the Government Decree on communicable diseases.

 

Hospital districts and regional corona coordination or cooperation groups

  • Hospital districts are experts in the prevention of communicable diseases in their own areas. 
  • In accordance with the action plan published by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on 7 September 2020, the hospital districts have established regional cooperation groups (corona coordination groups or corona groups) that involve different authorities. The task of the groups is to help get a better overall view of the situation and to coordinate and prepare regional and local response measures. For example, cooperation groups may prepare regional policies on the basis of which municipalities and the Regional State Administrative Agency can issue regulations within their authority. Some of the policies may be reflected in recommendations issued by hospital districts or municipalities, which different operators and citizens should follow. 
  • Hospital districts compile up-to-date recommendations and restrictions on each region on their websites. 

Municipalities

  • Municipalities are responsible for organising health care and combatting communicable diseases in their own area. Health centres provide advice and instructions on communicable diseases. In other words, in cases related to infections, the primary contact point is your own health centre. National emergency helpline is also available, tel. 116 117. 
  • Municipalities may restrict public events and meetings in their area if this is necessary to prevent the spread of an infectious disease. 
  • Municipalities may close certain premises in their area, such as schools, day-care centres and nursing homes, if this is necessary to prevent the spread of an infectious disease. 
  • The physician responsible for infectious diseases in the municipality may order persons who have been infected with coronavirus (and those who can be reasonably suspected of being ill) to be isolated and those who have been exposed (and those who can be reasonably suspected of being exposed) to be quarantined. The physician responsible for infectious diseases in the municipality may also make an individual decision on compulsory participation in a health examination. 

Regional State Administrative Agency

  • The Regional State Administrative Agency coordinates and supervises the prevention of communicable diseases in its area. The Regional State Administrative Agency monitors that the joint municipal authorities for hospital districts are prepared for localised public health emergencies. 
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency may restrict public events and meetings in its area if this is necessary to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, and the decision is necessary in several municipalities. 
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency may close certain premises in its area, such as schools, day-care centres and nursing homes, if this is necessary to prevent the spread of an infectious disease and a decision is necessary in several municipalities. 
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency may, for example, order a municipality to organise a targeted health examination in its area, as part of which a coronavirus sample can be taken. In principle, participating in a health check is voluntary. The Regional State Administrative Agency may also decide that participation in a health check is compulsory.
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency supervises compliance with the restrictions on restaurant activities laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and decrees issued under it. 
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency may order operators in its area to ensure effective safe distances at customer and business premises.
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency may order the temporary closure of facilities used for sports, exercise, recreational or entertainment activities.
  • The Regional State Administrative Agency, in cooperation with the municipality, ensures that the restrictions on safe distances and closures are followed.

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 

  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the general planning, guidance and supervision of the prevention of communicable diseases. The Advisory Board on Communicable Diseases appointed by the Government operates under the leadership of the Ministry. It monitors the general development of the communicable disease situation and supports the Ministry's work in combatting communicable diseases.  
  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health manages, supervises and coordinates preparedness for disruptions and emergencies in cooperation with other operators.  

Government

  • The Government may prepare policies and recommendations on the management of the epidemic. In practice, the Government's policies can be implemented by different authorities through decisions under the Communicable Diseases Act. Not all government recommendations can be implemented through official decisions, as the authorities do not have the authority for them under the law. It is everyone's responsibility to follow the recommendations so that the epidemic does not become worse. 
  • Under the Communicable Diseases Act, the Government issues decrees specifying the restrictions and obligations of restaurant activities specified in the Communicable Diseases Act. The decrees are prepared as a part of the official work of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. 

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) 

  • The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is an independent expert and research institute operating under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, which, among other things, guides and supports the work of municipalities, hospital districts and Regional State Administrative Agencies in the prevention of infectious diseases.  
  • The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare also investigates infectious diseases and their causes, as well as monitors and evaluates infectious disease threats in Finland and improves diagnostics and monitoring of infectious diseases and informing about them in the world. 
  • The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare provides instructions for the population on how to avoid infections and prevent spreading the disease. 

Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom)

  • Finnish Transport and Communications Agency monitors the implementation of the hygiene and distancing obligations of transport operators in cooperation with municipalities and the Regional State Administrative Agency.  
  • The Agency may make a decision to limit the number of passengers on means of transport.

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

  • The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health acts as an expert institution in the risk assessment of work-related infections and in the planning and implementation of prevention measures, especially in occupational health care.