What changes about life in Norway in May 2021?

What changes about life in Norway in May 2021?
A boat of the coast of Trømso, northern Norway. Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash
From new speed limits, the introduction of "corona certificates", Covid-19 restrictions being eased, and more, here's everything you need to know about what's happening in Norway during May.

Step two of the reopening plan

Health Minister Bent Høie expects Norway to begin the second phase of its four-step plan to reopen society in May.

“If everything goes as we hope, we will take the second step in the second half of May”, he said at a government press conference.

The health minister stressed that for step two to be given the green light, infection numbers would have to remain stable.

Step two would see the number of guests allowed to visit homes double, a relaxation of alcohol rules in hospitality settings and a loosening of entry restrictions.

You can read more about step two here.

Corona certificates

A simplified version of the government’s corona certificate or vaccine passport will be issued in May.

The certificate will show a person’s vaccination status, test results and any immunity to the virus from antibodies.

Despite certificates being issued, the government still hasn’t outlined how they will be used.

“The use of the certificate has not been specified, neither nationally nor with a view in relation to entry into Norway from abroad,” Høie said at a government press conference.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will assess how the corona certificates can be utilised and will make a recommendation on how the certificates should be implemented to the government.

The final version of the certificate will be ready by the end of June. It will launch alongside the EU’s coronavirus passports.

“From the Norwegian side, we have emphasised that a coordinated European approach to the design of corona certificates can contribute to a safe reopening in Europe,” Høie said.

Tax returns for the self-employed

Self-employed people and business owners will have until the end of May to submit their tax returns for 2020.

The partially pre-filled tax return form has already been issued and is accessed electronically via the Skatteetaten website.

 You can also use this deduction tool to see what you can add to your deductibles.

Potential easing of travel restrictions

Strict restrictions on travel into Norway first introduced in January are currently in place until May 12th.

The restrictions limit entry to a very small group outside of Norwegian residents and citizens.

If the measures are not extended, then entry requirements could be eased in May in line with the country’s plan to alleviate coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: When will I be able to travel to and from Norway again 

The second phase of reopening, which could get given the go-ahead in the second half of May, includes potential for partners and family to enter and the resumption of business travel.

The advice to not travel abroad on “unnecessary trips'”such as holidays is likely to remain, as is quarantine hotels for those returning from these trips and mandatory testing at the border for everyone.

New speed limits at sea come into force on May 15th

Boating is a popular activity in Norway and over 30 percent of Norwegians have access to a boat.

Norwegian speed limits on water will change in May, and you will no longer be allowed to go faster than five knots if you are less than 50 meters from people who are swimming or buoys.

The new regulations also require drivers of all types of seafaring vessels to adjust their speed to the conditions at sea.

Boat owners are being encouraged by the Ministry of Transport to download Båtfart, which the Norwegian Coastal Administration developed. The app will notify you of the speed limit wherever you are when at sea.

AstraZeneca decision

Norway will make its final decision on whether it will scrap the use of AstraZeneca on May 10th.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has already recommended that the vaccine be shelved.

An expert committee will weigh up the pros and cons of using the Anglo-Swedish vaccine in Norway’s vaccine program and deliver it.

The committee will also look at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which had its rollout in Europe delayed due to concerns over blood clots. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca’s vaccines are based on the same technology.

AstraZeneca has been on hold in Norway since March 11th due to suspected severe side effects, including blood clots and low platelet counts.

Five patients have been admitted to Oslo University Hospital (OUS) with severe blood clots after taking the vaccine. Three of them have died.

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