The Finnish government has announced it will open its border to Estonia and lift border controls on 15 June after the novel coronavirus lockdown.
The Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, announced on Facebook that his Finnish counterpart let him know that Finland will completely open its border to Estonia and lift border control at the Helsinki harbour.
According to the Finnish government, the country is lifting border controls at the land border between Finland and Norway; air and ferry borders between Finland and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and for pleasure craft, ie tourism by private individuals travelling by their own boats.
Border control remains in effect between Finland and Sweden
“These proposed decisions are part of the government’s hybrid strategy, according to which the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 epidemic will be lifted gradually on the basis of the epidemiological situation and social and economic considerations,” the Finnish government said in a statement.
“Movement of people and traffic will be facilitated primarily between countries with a similar epidemiological situation. The government will review the situation in two weeks’ time.”
Internal border control will continue for traffic between Finland and other Schengen countries. “This means that internal border control will continue, for example for traffic between Finland and Sweden,” the Finnish government noted.
Finnish residents returning to Finland, commuting and other essential traffic will be allowed at the country’s internal borders, including for family or personal reasons or travelling to a property, private residence or holiday residence in Finland.
No self-isolation for people arriving from Estonia
The Finnish government still recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to other countries except for Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Restrictions on border traffic will continue at the Russian border and for those arriving from third countries until 14 July. Return traffic to Finland, transit traffic at Helsinki Airport and other essential traffic will be allowed at the external borders. Family members of Finnish citizens may enter the country regardless of nationality.
Starting on 15 June, self-isolation is recommended for all those arriving in Finland from countries that are still subject to internal or external border control. Such countries include Sweden, Germany and Russia. Self-isolation is not required if the person arrives from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Denmark or Iceland.
Cover: A harbour in Helsinki. Photo by Tapio Haaja/Unsplash.