Oslo eases restrictions but ban on gyms and alcohol remains in place

Norway’s capital Oslo Wednesday announced a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions, despite an increase in cases. And residents will still have to wait before going to the gym or ordering a beer at a bar.

Oslo eases restrictions but ban on gyms and alcohol remains in place
Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

The newly announced restrictions are scheduled to last from Thursday February 18th to March 3rd. They were presented at a press conference one day after the government announced lifting of the regional restrictions in the Oslo area.

The easing is happening even though the capital last week recorded a 28 percent increase in new Covid-19 cases compared to the week before, according to a report by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

“Several outbreaks and more testing due to new variants led to an increase in the number of reported cases in Oslo last week,” the institute concludes.

READ ALSO: Does Norway need to test more people for Covid-19?

“We are in the midst of a challenging situation where we on the one hand are seeing that the rate of transmission has increased somewhat lately, while we on the other hand are aware of the heavy burden that residents in Oslo carry under long-lasting and strict measures,” Oslo’s governing mayor Raymond Johansen said in a statement.

“We therefore have to balance the need for protective measures against the need for easing restrictions. It’s a challenge, but I’m happy we can continue the gradual and controlled opening of our city,” he continued.

Here are the new restrictions:

  • Schools have returned from ‘red’ to ‘amber’ level according to the national traffic light model. This means pupils will be able to receive more physical teaching.
  • Children and young people under the age of 20 are allowed to participate in organised leisure and sports activities indoors.
  • Adults may participate in organised leisure and sports activities outdoors, as long as they maintain at least one metre social distance and groups do not exceed ten people.
  • Libraries, shops and restaurants can open.
  • Gyms will remain closed.
  • Malls and department stores will remain closed. Exceptions are in place for grocery shops, pharmacies, restaurants and cafés, etc.
  • The ban on serving alcohol will remain in place.

A full overview of recommendations and restrictions is available on the Oslo municipality website.

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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