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Getting married in Norway in the age of coronavirus

On Friday Lorelou Desjardins, the Frenchwoman who writes the Frog in the Fjord blog, will get married. But even with the worst coronavirus restrictions now gone in Norway, it will be very different from expected.

Getting married in Norway in the age of coronavirus
Lorelou Desjardins and her fiancé Ionut. Photo: Lorelou Desjardins
Here's her article on dating in the age of coronavirus for her Frog in the Fjord blog (although obviously she is not actually dating herself. 
 
No party 
 
“We were supposed to have a big party, which had to be postponed because we could not ensure the one-metre distance, even though we were ready to downsize the number of guests,” she says. 
 
Neither Lorelou nor her fiancé have been able to get any of their families and friends over for the ceremony (perhaps fittingly for someone who blogs about the differences between Norwegian and 'Latin' dating culture, she's ended up with Ionut, a Romanian). 
 
Only 12 people are allowed into Oslo's Rådhuset (City Hall) for the main event (which is nonetheless good news for the happy couple, as in March it closed for weddings completely). 
 
Lorelou said Norwegian friends were wary when she said she planned to hold the party at a rented venue, asking whether she planned to invite more than the permitted 20 people. 
 
“I had people saying they weren't coming to my wedding because I wasn't able to respect the one-metre rule,” she said. “Many Norwegians respect government regulations to the letter, usually to protect their loved-ones who are at high risk due to current sickness or old age.”
 
To reassure them, she has decided to hold the party in an Indian restaurant, which follows the guidelines agreed between the government and the restaurant industry. 
 
 
The restaurant has asked them to split the 12 or so guests into three tables and to sign a paper confirming that each group of four lives in the same household. 
 
The waiting staff will wear masks and each set of cutlery is reserved for different groups of guests.  
 
The couple had wanted to bring in a special cake from a French patisserie, but could not get permission. 
 
“Because of contamination risks they cannot accept that I take a cake from outside into the restaurant,” she explains. 
 
Desjardins, however, is at least in the fortunate position of having a fiancé in Norway.
 
Also, because she and Ionut have a four-month-old baby, their wedding planning has been very last minute, so they didn't have any major bookings to cancel. 
 
For them the big party will probably happen next year. 
 
For many other foreigners, however, lavishly planned weddings have been cancelled completely. 
 
Adeel Zahid hopes to marry his fiancé at a Muslim ceremony at the Dream Selskapslokal in Oslo. Photo: Dream Selskapslokaler. 
 
No parents 
 
Adeel Zahid, a German citizen with a Pakistani background, hopes to marry his Norwegian fiancé, who has a similar background, on July 18th. 
 
As an EEA citizen, he is allowed to enter Norway, and with gatherings of 200 people now possible, the wedding is technically feasible. 
 
However, under the UDI's new rules, his parents will not be able to enter, which he says makes an Islamic marriage impossible. 
 
“We want our parents to participate along with me as I am the only child of my parents and we live in the same household,” he says. “Marriage is a once in a lifetime event and without parents the marriage is not possible.” 
 
 
He says his parents are willing to go into quarantine for ten days on arrival in Norway, or to come only for two days around the ceremony. 
 
But the Norwegian authorities are replying to his emails by simply sending a link to the Q&A section on the UDI's website. 
 
“Why is it allowed for the bride or groom to arrive in Norway alone and not for his or her parents?” he asks. 
 
Ida Marie Rygg and her American fiancé Luke DeBoer. Photo: Private
 
No groom 
 
Ida Marie Rygg has been planning to marry her American fiancé Luke DeBoer for two years, with the date set for June 27th, and Luke already well-prepared to move to Norway to live with her. 
 
But on May 15th, they decided to postpone it, after the hoped-for relaxation of border rules left those overseas who are engaged to marry Norwegian citizens out. 
 
“We had hoped for good news that day, but there was no news for us,” Rygg complains. 
 
Today, she is still waiting for a change in the rulies that will  open the way for Luke to join her. “It is an emotional Rollercoaster,” she says. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Norway PM Solberg rules out Swedish exemption to coronavirus border rules

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has told her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven that Norway will not fully open its border with its Scandinavian neighbour.

Norway PM Solberg rules out Swedish exemption to coronavirus border rules
Norway's PM Erna Solberg says she will not make any exceptions to her country's coronavirus travel restrictions for neighbouring Sweden. Photo: AFP

Solberg made Norway’s position clear during a video meeting between the two Nordic government leaders on Monday, news wire NTB reports.

“It is clear that the Swedes would have like us to be more liberal on the question of borders,” Solberg told NTB.

“But we have a system in place that we are very consistent on, and we are going to continue with that,” she added.

After closing its borders at the outset of the pandemic, Norway lifted travel restrictions with most EEA and Schengen area countries on July 15th, but rising infections in Europe have resulted in a gradual re-tightening of guidelines and rules.

Arrivals from the vast majority of countries in Europe are now required to observe a 10-day quarantine period on arrival in Norway.

For fellow Nordic countries, Norway's health authorities judge on a regional basis, so some Swedish regions can be exempted from quarantine while others remain encompassed by it.

People from Blekinge, Gotland, Kalmar, Norrboten, Södermanland, Värmland, Västernorrland and Åland are currently not required to quarantine on arrival in Norway. People from all other Swedish regions must quarantine. The regional restrictions are updated weekly.

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Norway has a number of circumstances which may exempt you from quarantine rules, include crossing borders between Sweden and Norway for work reasons. The specific details of these exemptions can be complex. If you think you might be encompassed, you can check in more detail on the Helsenorge (Health Norway) website here.

Solberg said on Monday that she recognised the concerns of politicians in Sweden over Norway’s coronavirus travel restrictions.

“I can see the difficulties for them with jobs near the border which have been dependent on Norwegian border shopping,” she said to NTB.

“But we are more concerned with the virus situation,” she added.

Norway enforces its quarantine requirement on EU, EEA and Schengen countries or Nordic regions if the rate of new coronavirus infections is more than 20 cases per 100,000 people for the last two weeks.

“We have seen that we have had infections close to the Swedish border, not least in Indre Østfold (Municipality), which can be traced to some infections being brought over the border,” Solberg said.

She also pointed out that the regionalised approach within the Nordic countries has allowed more open travel from some parts of Sweden even when the country as a whole would qualify for quarantine.

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