Oslo relaxes Covid restrictions with shops and malls to reopen

Retail and shopping malls will reopen in Oslo from Thursday while bars, restaurants and gyms will reopen later in May, the city’s mayor announced on Wednesday.

Oslo relaxes Covid restrictions with shops and malls to reopen
Oslo Opera House. Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

The Norwegian capital will adopt a phased approach to the second step of its five-step plan for reopening and relaxing Coronavirus measures. This means that only a few of the measures mentioned as part of step two would be introduced for now.

“I am pretty sure that the population of Oslo does not want us to take big risks with the reopening,” Mayor Raymond Johansen said.

“If we have to close down again as soon as we open, then the reopening would have been for nothing. Many other cities have had to do this,” he added. 

The first phase of step two includes:

  • Shopping malls and stores can open from May 6th.
  • Kindergartens and primary schools will move to yellow level from May 10th.
  • Oslo municipal library will gradually begin reopening.
  • Cultural activities will be moved from step three to later during step two.
  • Elderly homes will gradually begin easing measures and returning to normal operations.

Stores have been closed in Oslo since March 2nd while shopping centres have been closed since the end of January. 

READ MORE:,‘Life as we remember’: Oslo reveals five-step plan for reopening

If infections stay low, the city will look at implementing the remainder of step two, which includes reopening hospitality with alcohol service, gyms, museums, and more.

“If the situation with infection, hospitalisations and vaccines continues positively, those who run restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, theatres and other cultural venues can start preparing for a gradual reopening in a few weeks,” Johansen said.

The second phase of step two will be assessed around May 20th, the mayor said. Step two would see:

  • Cafes and restaurants reopen
  • Alcohol service in hospitality until 10pm.
  • Gyms and sports centres
  • Organised sports outdoors for adults
  • Cultural sites like museums, galleries and libraries reopen
  • Leisure clubs for up to 20 people
  • Worship services with fixed designated seating for 20 people at a time

On Tuesday, 123 new corona infections were registered, 24 fewer than on the same day last week. 

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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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