NoHo Partners calls upon the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate the drafting of the Government proposal for an act temporarily amending the Communicable Diseases Act concerning restaurant industry and related Government decree
NoHo Partners Plc
PRESS RELEASE 13 October 2020 at 13:00
The restaurant group NoHo Partners Plc has called upon the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate the legality of the actions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health during the drafting of the Government proposal for an act temporarily amending the Communicable Diseases Act concerning restaurant industry and the related Government decree.
On 1 October 2020, the Finnish Government issued a proposal to the Parliament on temporarily amending the Communicable Diseases Act. The proposed amendments would see the restrictions imposed on restaurant industry for the period 1 June–31 October 2020 extended until 28 February 2021. On 9 October 2020, the Government also issued a decree on temporarily restricting the activities of food and beverage service businesses to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. The amendment entered into force on 11 October 2020. The amendment to the Government decree and the Government proposal were drafted by the Ministry of Social Affairs of Health and were the responsibility of Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru.
In the view of NoHo Partners, the Government proposal lacks detailed justifications for the necessity of the proposed measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The drafting of the proposal has not sufficiently taken into account, or evaluated, the effectiveness of alternatives to the proposed restrictions – such as self-monitoring by the restaurant industry – to mitigate the pandemic. The manner in which the restrictions can be regionally reduced and subsequently tightened pursuant to a Government decree is also problematic from the perspective of constitutional law.
Moreover, the drafting of the restrictions concerning the restaurant industry has not sufficiently taken into account the realisation of basic rights and liberties outlined in the Constitution of Finland with regard to the freedom to engage in commercial activity and the protection of property. As the matter involves a significant restriction of basic rights, the Government proposal and the explanatory memorandum of the Government decree should have included an assessment of other regulatory alternatives that would be less restrictive with regard to the freedom to engage in commercial activity and the protection of property, the significance of the industry’s own actions and a justification of the necessity of the regulations.
“It is clear that there is a need to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect human health. Restrictions are necessary where chains of infection and exposures verifiably occur. It is also necessary to anticipate these in a rational manner. The Government’s proposal on the nationwide coverage of the restrictions is particularly problematic. The extension of broad restrictions that apply to the entire industry must be conditional on the presentation of current statistical data indicating that exposures or infections occur to a significant degree in restaurants of all types,” says Aku Vikström, CEO of NoHo Partners Plc.
NoHo Partners has today, on 13 October 2020, issued a written petition to the Parliamentary Ombudsman to call for an investigation into the legality of the actions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in the drafting of the Government proposal for an act temporarily amending the Communicable Diseases Act and the related Government decree, and called upon the Parliamentary Ombudsman to subsequently take action as necessary based on the investigation.
More information is available from:
Aku Vikström, CEO, NoHo Partners Plc, tel. +358 44 011 1989
Jarno Suominen, Deputy CEO, NoHo Partners Plc, tel. +358 40 721 5655
NoHo Partners Plc is a Finnish group established in 1996, specialising in restaurant services. The company, which was listed on NASDAQ Helsinki in 2013 and became the first Finnish listed restaurant company, has continued to grow strongly throughout its history. The Group companies include some 250 restaurants in Finland, Denmark and Norway. The well-known restaurant concepts of the company include Elite, Savoy, Teatteri, Yes Yes Yes, Stefan’s Steakhouse, Palace, Löyly, Hanko Sushi, Friends & Brgrs and Cock’s & Cows. In 2019, NoHo Partners Plc’s turnover was MEUR 272.8 and EBIT MEUR 30.6. Depending on the season, the Group employs approximately 2,100 people converted into full-time workers.
NoHo Partners corporate website: www.noho.fi/en
NoHo Partners consumer website: www.ravintola.fi/en