On Saturday, Norway's capital Oslo and nine neighbouring municipalities imposed strict shutdown measures, including the closure of all non-essential stores, after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain.
In addition to the 10 municipalities in which the strictest restrictions apply — now known as ‘Ring 1’ — a further 15 municipalities – termed ‘Ring 2’ – outlying the Ring 1 municipalities have also come under stricter measures. These are outlined further down this article.
In Ring 1, only essential shops remain open and municipalities are allowed to close primary schools and switch secondaries to remote learning.
All public events, indoors and outdoors, are cancelled apart from burials. Restaurants are limited to takeaway services.
The restriction initially included the closure of Vinmonopolet alcohol stores, but this decision has since been reversed.
The measures will remain in force until at least January 31st following the detection of the British variant in a home at Nordre Follo, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Oslo.
Authorities have also requested that those who live in one of the 10 municipalities covered by the measures do not travel to other municipalities under the broader national restrictions.
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The 10 ‘Ring 1’ municipalities covered are:
* All events outside the home are prohibited, both indoors and outdoors, with the exception of funerals and burials.
* Employers must ensure that employees work from home as far as is practically possible.
* Shops are closed. Exceptions are made for grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.
* Grassroots sports for children and adults stopped.
* A stop in other leisure activities (choir, corps, theatre, etc.)
* Everyone should avoid home visits and gatherings in their own homes.
* Exceptions to this include home services and visits to people who are in the last phase of life.
* Single people can be visited by or visit one or two regular friends or one permanent household.
* Children in kindergartens and primary schools can have visits from their own cohort.
* Everyone should avoid travel that is not strictly necessary. Travel to work must be considered strictly necessary.
* The municipalities and county municipalities should introduce reinforced measures on public transport, this may, for example, be that only up to 50 per cent capacity is used.
* One-on-one businesses, such as hairdressers, should introduce reinforced measures such as the use of face masks in situations where it is not possible to maintain a distance of one metre, or to reduce or temporarily remove treatment options that involve close face-to-face contact.
The following businesses and places will also close:
* Restaurants, but take away is allowed
* Swimming pools, water parks, spa facilities, hotel pools
* Places of worship, with the exception of funerals
* Amusement parks, bingo halls, gaming halls, playgrounds, bowling alleys and similar places where entertainment and leisure activities take place
* Cinemas, theatres, concert venues and similar cultural and entertainment venues.
* Other public places and businesses where cultural, entertainment or leisure activities take place that gather people indoors.
Schools and kindergartens: Kindergartens, primary schools and lower secondary schools upgraded to level red in line with the national traffic light model. The municipalities may decide to close the schools and kindergartens if it is necessary to prepare for the red level or if the infection situation requires.
Upper secondary school: Digital teaching should be introduced in upper secondary school in week 4, and a transition to red level in upper secondary school should be prepared from week 5.
Universities, colleges and vocational colleges: Digital teaching will be introduced for all. All teaching and planned events must be postponed or made digital.
The premises at universities, colleges and vocational colleges are closed to all students.
The 15 ‘Ring 2’ municipalities are:
The measures in place in the Ring 2 outlying municipalities resemble the Ring 1 restrictions to a high extent, with a little more leniency. Here, shopping malls are closed but schools and kindergartens are at the ‘amber’ level of the national traffic light model. Upper secondary schools are at ‘red’ level.
Businesses that serve food or alcohol, libraries, places of worship and essential shops not located in shopping malls remain open in these areas. The list of essential shops is extended to include pet food stores, agriculture supplies, supplies for traders like electricians and carpenters, opticians and some others.
Leisure facilities for children and young people under 20 years old can also open, if they are not being used by others.
In line with national recommendations, authorities are asking all members of the public to minimise their social contact and to have no more than five visitors from outside of their own households.
Most other rules in place in the 10 central municipalities also apply in Ring 2. A full list is available on the HelseNorge website.