Norway to ease coronavirus restrictions for two Christmas days

Norway to ease coronavirus restrictions for two Christmas days
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg. File photo: AFP
Authorities in Norway are to slightly ease limits on social gatherings to make it easier for families to be together at Christmas.

Current coronavirus restrictions in the Nordic country limit households to no more than five outside guests at private gatherings.

That will be extended to ten people over two days at Christmas. Families are to be given free choice over the two days on which they decide to use the provision, NRK reports.

In announcing the easing of restrictions for Christmas, the government emphasised the importance of social distancing.

Although households are currently allowed to invite a maximum of five guests into their home, people must stay one metre apart from each other. That will remain the case on the days when up to ten guests attend.

“You'll have to improvise and maybe extend the table a bit this year,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters.

“We will retain the rule of up to five guests, but for two of the days we will allow up to ten guests. For example on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve,” Solberg also said.

The PM noted that these changes would apply to national restrictions, and that local authorities can have stricter rules in place, which would take precedence over the national ones.

Solberg also called for members of the public to continue to limit social contacts during the festive season.

“It shouldn’t be that you have five new guests every day and ten new and different guests on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve,” she said.

Neither domestic nor foreign travel is advised, and most of those who do go abroad must quarantine on their return to Norway.

READ ALSO: What are Norway's coronavirus 'quarantine hotels' and who is obliged to stay at them?

While the country has not imposed a new lockdown like many other European countries, strict curbs are in place until December 16th.

The city of Oslo has in addition banned alcohol sales in bars and restaurants, causing many establishments to close.

The Scandinavian country has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in Europe. As of Wednesday, it had reported 36,591 cases and 351 deaths.

READ ALSO: How Norway's Christmas traditions could be affected by Covid-19 pandemic


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