COVID passport use restricted for 3 weeks

FinnishNewsNetwork1个月前market151
COVID passport use restricted for 3 weeks

The Government on Wednesday has issued a resolution on the adoption of the national emergency brake mechanism with the view to slow down the spread of the epidemic, said the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a press release.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Government decided that the use of COVID-19 passports is to be restricted for a period of three weeks starting from 28 December a government decree to this effect was urgently drafted under section 58 subsection of the Communicable Diseases Act.

The emergency brake system will introduce measures that are in line with current legislation but also measures that require legislative amendments. The amendments are laid down by decree.

The decree will lay down provisions on a period of three weeks during which it will not be possible to deviate from the restrictions by using the COVID-19 passport in high and moderate risk premises and events in the community transmission areas.

The ministries guide the authorities to introduce extensive and full measures to tackle the pandemic in the community transmission areas.

Seventeen areas in Finland are currently classified as community transmission areas, so the recommended measures apply to almost the whole country.

Other measures included extending the restrictions on public events, prohibit high and moderate risk events, suspend high-risk group hobbies for adults, switch to distance learning in higher education institutions, close high and moderate risk premises open to customers and participants, and restrict the number of passengers in public transport.

It is also recommended that people take a home test before attending events and activities or using public premises.

The emergency brake mechanism will be applied nationally and for as short a period as possible. It will be lifted as soon as it cannot be justified to be proportionate and necessary.

The emergency brake measures and their impact on health, wellbeing, the economy and fundamental rights have been assessed in advance in cooperation between different ministries.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will issue instructions on the introduction of the emergency brake mechanism in the regions.

The government in its meeting on Tuesday emphasised the importance of third doses and the need to accelerate vaccination in municipalities.

These restrictions will apply to moderate and high risk events and premises in community transmission areas. Events and premises identified as having a high risk of infection include bars, karaoke bars, nightclubs and mass events with no assigned seats. Events and premises identified as having a moderate risk of infection include choir singing events with more than 10 people, outdoor spectator stands with no assigned seats, and fairs with no special arrangements for avoiding close contact. Use of COVID-19 passports would be permitted at low risk events.

COVID-19 passport restrictions will affect opening hours in restaurants, cafés and bars. Starting from Friday 24 December, alcoholic beverages will not be served after 21.00 and closing time will be at 22.00.

Starting from Tuesday 28 December, alcohol will not be served after 17.00, and businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages will be required to close at 18.00. Restaurants will also be required to stop serving alcohol at 17.00, but opening hours for customers with a COVID-19 passport could be extended to 18.00-20.00.

Customer seats in restaurants that primarily serve alcoholic beverages will be restricted to 50 per cent and in restaurants serving food to 75 per cent of their normal number of customer seats. All restaurants in Finland will be entitled to require customers to present a COVID-19 passport at all hours.

Distance learning recommended in higher education institutions, liberal adult education, basic education for adults and basic education in arts for adults.

The Government recommended switching to distance learning in universities and universities of applied sciences, liberal adult education, basic education for adults and basic education in arts for adults until 16 January 2022. The recommendation does not apply to necessary contact teaching.

The recommendation on distance learning does not apply to primary and lower secondary education, vocational education and training, or general upper secondary education.

The Government decided to reintroduce internal border control at Finland’s borders starting from 28 December. Due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant, measures taken under the Communicable Diseases Act are not sufficient to safeguard the capacity of the healthcare system. The Government will decide on new restrictions at its session on Tuesday 28 December, and the decision will enter into force immediately. The decision will remain in force until 16 January 2022.

Internal border control is reinstated for traffic between Finland and all Schengen countries. Those arriving in Finland are required to present a certificate of a full vaccine course or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 disease less than six months prior to entry, and a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued less than 48 hours prior to entry. Until 31 December this requirement will apply to those born in 2005 or earlier, and as of 1 January 2022, to those born in 2006 or earlier.

A negative test result will not be required of Finnish citizens, foreigners residing permanently in Finland, or persons who have an essential reason for entry, such as compelling family matters or another compelling personal reason.

However, all passengers are required to present certificates laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act and comply with the decisions made by the Regional State Administrative Agencies on compulsory health examinations.

As an exception to the above, residents of border communities at Finland’s land border with Sweden and Norway as well as persons travelling between Norrtälje municipality and Åland may present a certificate of completed and approved COVID-19 vaccine course, a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 disease less than six months prior to entry, or a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 7 days prior to entry.

Internal border control was previously in place due to the COVID-19 epidemic from 19 March 2020 to 25 July 2021.

The Government is preparing to compensate for the direct and necessary costs arising from restrictive measures. Decisions will be made quickly on the forms of compensation, especially with regard to legislation on support for business costs (closure compensation, limited business cost support), unemployment security, and the cancellation of events (including culture and sports). In addition, direct costs arising from the COVID-19 situation to the authorities will continue to be compensated in full.

The Government decided to establish a new ministerial working group to coordinate the COVID-19 measures taken in different sectors of administration and to ensure efficient exchange of information. The working group will be appointed shortly.

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