Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The joy of open border lasted for a week

Finland reintroduces travel restrictions to Norway and Sweden and many other European countries due to the COVID-19 situation, but exemptions are made for border municipalities in the north.
September 24, 2020

The government in Helsinki said countries with more than 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 persons over a 14 days period will be red-listed.

The coronavirus situation has changed to the negative since Finland opened its border to neighboring Estonia, Sweden, and Norway on September 18. All three countries are now defined as red.

Normal border traffic closes from Monday, September 28. Local border traffic in the north, though, will still be possible.

Unlike last time when Finland opened for cross-border travel for people living in Norwegian and Swedish settlements in a short distance from the border, such travel permissions will now be valid for inhabitants in entire border municipalities. That goes for municipalities in Troms and Finnmark (Norway) and in Norrbotten (Sweden) with a direct border to Lapland.

Inari in Lapland may still get visitors from its neighboring municipality Sør-Varanger in Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

According to YLE Lappi, transit travel through parts of Finland will also be allowed. The Finnish border guards write in an email to The Barents Observer that such transit travel is limited to Enontekiö municipality only, for transit between Norway and Sweden. There are significantly fewer cases of coronavirus in the northern regions of Sweden and Norway than in the south.

Additional to its nearest neighbors, Finland imposes travel restrictions to the following European countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Iceland, Italy, Austria, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, France, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

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With a few exceptions, like work-related travel to Sweden and Estonia, all travelers arriving in Finland will have to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine can be shortened if two negative corona tests are taken.

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