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COVID-19

UPDATED: Norway eases Covid-19 ‘quarantine hotel’ rules

Norway’s government has adjusted accommodation rules relating to quarantine on entry into the country.

UPDATED: Norway eases Covid-19 'quarantine hotel' rules
Illustration photo: Christopher Jolly on Unsplash

Travellers arriving in Norway now have the option of spending 10-day quarantine period at alternative locations to the country’s ‘quarantine hotels’, if they are able to secure suitable accommodation, NRK reports.

The adjusted rules were confirmed by justice minister Monica Mæland at a briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

“Some of the rules have been perceived as unfair. I am therefore happy that we are able to present some changes,” Mæland said.

“The primary rule will remain that travellers arriving in Norway must stay at a quarantine hotel, but exemptions will be introduced for those who rent housing in Norway. Additionally, we will allow people who neither own nor rent housing to stay at a suitable place, if they can document that quarantine rules can be complied with,” she added.

Guest rooms are not sufficient accommodation for quarantine, the minister said.

“This requires accommodation in a private room. There must be access to own toilet, kitchen or food service. It must also be possible to avoid close contact,” she said.

People arriving in Norway from abroad are required to comply if they qualify for a 10-day entry quarantine under the country's coronavirus restrictions. People from the same household are allowed to quarantine together if they have also travelled to Norway together.

The quarantine hotel rule was introduced by the government on November 9th.

Since that date, everyone required to observe entry quarantine has been obliged to stay at a quarantine hotel during the isolation period.

Up to now, that rule has had following exceptions: Norwegian citizens and residents, with three exceptions: people who reside or own a home in Norway and can stay there; Norwegian students returning from study abroad who can stay with their parents or own registered address; and people who come to Norway to work and have accommodation arranged by an employer.

Wednesday’s announcement broadens the options for observing quarantine at accommodation other than the hotels.

The changes are expected to take effect by the end of this week.

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

“We have always said that we will continually be open to adjusting rules related to quarantine hotels. We are now working on further adjustments of the rules,” health minister Bent Høie said in parliament earlier on Wednesday, as reported by NTB.

Norway currently has a social lockdown in effect in Oslo and national restrictions are also in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Infection numbers in both the capital and nationally are currently at a lower level in comparison with the situation at the end of November, when they were last extended, according to newspaper VG’s running analysis of official data.

372 cases of Covid-19 were registered in Norway in the last daily update, including 117 in Oslo.

Member comments

  1. So is this new rule only for residents? Can I as a foreign rent an airbnb and stay the quarantine there?

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OSLO

EXPLAINED: What Oslo’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you

Most, but not all, of the Norwegian capital's local Covid restrictions have been lifted to fall in line with national coronavirus rules, with new limits on guests at home and new guidance on face masks. Here’s a rundown of what the latest restrictions mean for you.

EXPLAINED: What Oslo's easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you
Oslo's skyline. Photo by Oscar Daniel Rangel on Unsplash

Covid-19 measures in Oslo have been relaxed, with the majority of local restrictions being replaced with the looser national rules.

The new rules are a mix of steps three and four of the city’s five-step reopening plan and were introduced after the lowest infection numbers since last autumn were recorded in Oslo last week. 

Last week, 239 coronavirus infections were registered in the Norwegian capital. 

“The gradual, controlled opening of Oslo has been a success. Many of the rules that the people of Oslo have been expected to live with are now being removed, and we will essentially live with the same corona rules as people elsewhere in Norway,” Oslo’s Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Not all local restrictions have been lifted however, meaning there are a mix of local and national rules in place. 

Below we’ll take a look at how the measures will affect everyday life in Oslo. 

At home 

The significant change here is that the ban on having more than ten people gathered at home has been lifted completely. Instead, this will be replaced with the national recommendation not to have more than guests. 

So while it will not be recommended to have more than ten guests, it’s not an enforceable rule anymore. 

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

Shopping 

The local rules for shopping malls and stores have been tweaked too. There will no longer be any rule that makes face masks mandatory in shops. In addition to this, the official social distancing measure has been halved, to one metre, and the limit on the number of people allowed in shops has been scrapped. 

However, it’s worth noting that some shops may wish to keep some infection control measures in place if they feel it helps keep staff and shoppers safe, so it may be worth bringing a mask along on your next trip to the shops just in case.

Face masks  

The rule on mandatory face masks in public has also been given the axe, with two exceptions. 

You will still need one if you are taking public transport or taking a taxi. 

Masks will no longer be needed in shops, gyms, museums and galleries, indoor swimming pools, spa facilities and hotel facilities such as pools and dining areas. 

Although, some places may still wish to continue with a mask policy, so always remember to have one handy to be sure. 

Hospitality 

At indoor public places, such as restaurants, 50 people are allowed in venues without fixed assigned seats and 200 people at events with set, assigned seats.

Outdoors, 200 people can gather in cohorts of three, meaning a potential venue of 600 for places with the space and capacity and where there is fixed designated seating.

Soon, when the government changes its rules for events, up to 5,000 people will be able to gather when there is a seating plan in place, provided venues aren’t operating above 50 percent capacity.  

Up to 20 people can book a table at a restaurant or bar when indoors and 30 people outdoors. 

Alcohol will now be able to be served until midnight rather than 10 pm, and this rule will stay in place until July 4th. The cut-off point will remain in place even if national rules change and allow alcohol to be served later. 

Sports, leisure and entertainment 

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds can now reopen.

Oslo’s numbers cap on the people allowed in gyms, museums, galleries, and indoor pools has been lifted. 

Now, 20 people can work out, go for a swim, or take in some art indoors, and up to 30 can do so outdoors. 

Schools 

Restrictions for schools and kindergartens haven’t changed, however. 

This means that schools and kindergartens in Oslo will remain at yellow level. 

Yellow level means that full class sizes are allowed, but mixing between classes must be kept to a minimum. Yellow level also means increased cleaning and hygiene measures are also in place. 

You can read more about yellow level here

Adult education and university are at red level, which means digital learning where possible and minimal contact between students and teachers. 

You can read more on red level here

Work

People are still required to work from home where possible until July 4th. 

Executive mayor Johansen has previously said the home office would be one of the last pandemic measures to go, meaning it could be here for a while longer. 

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