Winter holiday: The dos and don’ts of ‘vinterferie’ in Norway during the pandemic

Winter holiday (vinterferie) in is just around the corner in Norway, and the government says it will not prevent people from going on holiday within the country. Here are the recommendations and rules you need know about.

Winter holiday: The dos and don’ts of 'vinterferie' in Norway during the pandemic
Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Schoolchildren and their parents and grandparents are now beginning to plan their winter holidays at the end of February and early March. Minister of Health Bent Høie on Friday stressed that while they are welcome to make plans for trips in Norway, either to their cabin or a hotel, people should avoid international travel.

“It would be a violation of our travel recommendations to go abroad during the holiday,” Høie said at a press conference about the Covid-19 pandemic Friday.

“The risk is too high. Both in regards to catching the virus, but also due to changing restrictions in countries you are visiting and your chances of being able to return,” he added.

Norway is currently advising against international travel until April 15th.

READ ALSO: Norway advises against all foreign travel until after Easter

The minister also emphasised that people who do decide to go on holiday in Norway, should take extra precautions, maintain social distancing and avoid public transport. People are also advised to do their grocery shopping in the municipality where they live permanently.

The government has published a list of pointers and recommendations for people planning on travelling in Norway during the winter holiday:

  • Stay home if you suspect you may be ill. Get tested as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been infected with coronavirus.
  • Be prepared to change your plans in case of local outbreaks, either near your home or in the area you are planning on visiting.
  • Avoid public transport.
  • Be prepared that you may have to quarantine if a coronavirus outbreak happens at the hotel you are staying at. Maintain social distance to other guests and adhere to the hotel’s measures and restrictions.
  • If the measures in your home municipality are stricter than in the municipality you are visiting, you should adhere to the measures of your home municipality.
  • Minimise social contact.
  • Do not receive more than five guests in your home or cabin. Try to socialise outdoors. Minimise the number of guests that spend the night.
  • Do your grocery shopping in your home municipality before departure.
  • Avoid crowded places where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
  • Try to choose outdoors activities if possible.
  • Wash your hands often.

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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


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. 


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. 


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


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.