Senate Square's summer terrace in 2020. Photo: Camilla Bloom / Torikorttelit

Helsinki’s support measures for the restaurant sector

Helsinki will be supporting the restaurant sector through a variety of measures, some of which are new while others have been in effect since last spring. Restaurant terraces will be permitted to stay open for longer, lightly-structure terraces can be set up without a permit and up to three parking spaces can now be reserved for restaurant use. The City is also engaging in constant dialogue with the restaurant sector to gain more information about the prevailing situation and find new ways to provide assistance.

Terraces open until 23:00

The opening hours for outdoor serving areas in the vicinity of residential properties have been extended from 22:00 to 23:00. However, music must be switched off at 22:00 at the latest. There have been some trials in the context of which this opportunity has already been available in recent years. Thanks to the promising trials, the extended opening hours have now been established as the norm. As a precondition for the later closing time, the other relevant requirements must be met. For example, the decisions regarding licences to serve alcohol will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency.

The extended opening hours will not be possible before the lifting of the temporary restrictions imposed on restaurant openings hours due to the coronavirus crisis.

Further information on other licences related to restaurant terraces is provided in the instructions regarding terraces

Lightly-structured terraces do not require a permit

A lightly-structured terrace will no longer require a permit, provided that the following criteria on structural lightness are met:

• If terrace platforms must be built due to the inclination of the surface, but the height of the drop does not exceed 500 mm.
• A serving point that can be regarded as a fixture (no more than 2,500 x 1,500 mm in size)
• Parasols and canopies that are not attached to the ground

If the terrace is set up within the City area, a terrace agreement must be made with the City organisation, even though a permit is not required.

Multiple parklets side-by-side

It is now possible to gain access to three parklet parking spaces for restaurant activities instead of the previous two, traffic permitting. Each case will be processed separately.

More specific instructions on finding parking spaces for restaurant activities

Cooperation with the Raising HEL movement

Established by twelve Helsinki-based restaurateurs, the Raising HEL movement aims for a vibrant capital city with a thriving restaurant culture. The City of Helsinki is working in close cooperation with the movement to focus the City’s efforts to support the restaurant sector as effectively as possible and disseminate information to operators in the field. Through interviews and workshops, the City engages in constant dialogue on the challenges faced by businesses and the help that they wish to receive.

Additional information:

Development of the restaurant cluster: Jukka-Pekka Tolvanen, Business Liaison, Economic Development Unit, City of Helsinki, jukkapekka.tolvanen(at), +358 40 5478345

Contact for private entrepreneurs in the restaurant sector: raflat(at)

The City’s website for the restaurant sector (in Finnish)