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Norway to lift ban on serving alcohol after parliament forces government’s hand

Norway is to lift the nationwide ban on the serving of alcohol by businesses from Friday January 22nd.

Norway to lift ban on serving alcohol after parliament forces government’s hand
Photo: radovan on Unsplash

Parliament on Tuesday moved to support a proposal to allow alcohol to be served by businesses in areas with low infection rates.

After the proposal received majority support, the government decided to lift the Covid-19 restriction banning the serving of alcohol by businesses completely, newspaper VG reports.

The ban will be lifted from Friday January 22nd, health minister Bent Høie confirmed.

In a statement, the health ministry said they would follow recommendations from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) to return to the measures that were in place prior to the introduction of the full ban on serving alcohol on January 4th.

That means a ban on serving alcohol will remain in place after midnight, new guests may not be admitted after 10pm and alcohol and must be sold in conjunction with the serving of food.

Høie said in comments reported by NRK that he felt it was too early to lift the alcohol ban, reflecting the scenario in which the government had been forced to act by parliament.

“It is too early to re-open the serving of alcohol nationally. We are still in an uncertain situation. International and domestic experience is bad in this area,” he said.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that a planned re-evaluation next week of Norway’s other Covid-19 restrictions will wait, given the lifting of the ban on alcohol serving, VG reports.

“Our priority is health first, and children and youth, and then jobs,” Solberg told the newspaper.

“We felt we must wait to open restaurants because we have opened so much else. In our prioritisation, children and young people were higher, as was the social isolation we created by not allowing guests,” she said.

Earlier this week, the government announced it was easing up some restrictions, with Covid-19 infection rates in Norway stabilising.

These included restrictions on school sports and guests at private homes, but – at the time – no change to the ban on serving alcohol.

READ ALSO: Down the drain: Why Norway's ban on alcohol sales is so controversial

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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