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Ritakallio: Return to normal should begin with gradually lifted restrictions

To survive the COVID-19 crisis we must quickly bring the epidemic under control and reopen the economy safely. This is the view of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK’s Exit Group tasked to prepare a roadmap that will enable Finland to pull away from the crisis. 

“It is now essential that we begin to gradually ease the restrictions and return to normal life as soon as possible”, says OP Financial Group President and Executive Chair of FFI’s Board Timo Ritakallio, member of the Exit Group. 

With the working group’s proposals, the Finnish business community wants to offer its support to the Finnish Government so that it can lead the country out of the coronavirus crisis. It is important to act now, to ensure the safe return to work, use of goods and services and movement already in the summer. This way the Finnish economy can get a chance to recover and return to a growth track later this year. 

“For example, the grace periods on loans offered by banks enable households to maintain their purchasing power and thereby finance economic recovery with up to half a billion euros. A total of 142,000 households and 23,000 businesses have already applied for a loan grace period due to the crisis, and nearly all of these requests have been accepted”, Ritakallio notes. 

A safe and responsible restarting of the economy is the best support policy for businesses. The business community wants to support the Finnish Government with measures that will assist the safe reopening and rebuilding of society. 

EK’s Exit Group recommends the strategy for Finland to manage the epidemic: 

  • Control the disease through restrictions, testing, and contact tracing. 
  • Minimise the risk of infection at work, while using goods and services, and on the move with new practices and methods. 
  • Support companies through the acute phase of the crisis to avoid bankruptcies of viable companies. 
  • Lift restrictions in a controlled way and support the restarting of the economy and society. 
  • Ensure that Finland is among the first countries to receive sufficient doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

More on the EK Exit Group's report