A limit of two guests at private homes and national ban on businesses serving alcohol are among new coronavirus restrictions presented by the Norwegian government Tuesday evening.
The new restrictions come with Norway registering record numbers of new daily infections and hospitals treating as many Covid-19 inpatients as they did during the peak of the Spring 2020 wave of the virus.
The government is now following up on a promise made last week that new national restrictions would be introduced if infection rates did not improve.
Both the national Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) have advised the new restrictions, health minister Bent Høie said at Tuesday’s briefing.
“I know this will cause reactions in places that have barely had a case (of the virus) before,” Høie said, referencing parts of Norway with very low Covid-19 incidences which will now be encompassed by strict national rules.
The measures are a combination of requirements and recommendations and will apply throughout the country during the Easter period.
A summary of the measures which were announced on Tuesday follows below. They come into effect on March 25th and will be reviewed on April 12th.
- National ban on serving alcohol
- Ban on organised indoor sports and leisure activities for adults, professional athletes exempt
- Gyms closed but can be used for individual treatment or rehabilitation
- Swimming pools closed but can be used for children’s swimming lessons or rehabilitation
- Amusement parks, bingo halls and similar attractions closed
- Employers must facilitate home working for staff wherever possible
- Persons returning to Norway after non essential foreign travel must isolate in quarantine hotel for full 10 days, may not leave early on negative testing
- Cancellation of all planned events requested, attendance limits and social distancing rules apply to any that take place.
- One metre social distancing guideline increases to two metres
- Maximum of two guests at private homes
- People in high infection regions asked not to have any guests at all, or to stay overnight away from their own homes
- Use face masks anywhere when not possible to maintain a two-metre social distance
- Only use stores and supermarkets in the municipality in which you live
- All non-essential travel should be avoided. Students traveling to family residences and households traveling together to stay at cabins are permitted
- Online classes at universities, vocational colleges and folk high schools until April 12th
The Easter holidays in Norway normally see many people travel across the country on skiing trips, to visit family or friends or to stay at their country homes and cabins. Last year the government introduced a cabin ban to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The government had previously set out its guidelines for Easter 2021, but these are now superseded by Tuesday’s announcement.
On Monday, assistant health director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health Espen Rostrup Nakstad said that both the directorate and NIPH were looking closely at which measures would apply during Easter.
“We look at how many people can be together, when you should wear a face mask and when you should keep your distance. We consider all these things and where it may be relevant to tighten them,” he told TV2.