Oslo reopens bars, restaurants and gyms but what are the rules?

Gyms, restaurants, bars, museums and cinemas reopened in Oslo as the Norwegian capital completed step two of its five-step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions.

Oslo reopens bars, restaurants and gyms but what are the rules?
Karl Johan, one of Oslo's busiest streets . Thomas CUELHO FLICKR

“I have waited a long time for this day,” Oslo Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen told press at a gym in Oslo this morning.

Although he is excited to lift more measures, Johansen has warned that Covid-19 cases may rise as a result. 

“I think we should expect that there will be some increase in infection. People will be interacting more and the virus thrives among people,” Johansen added. 

Johansen has said that restaurants may pose the biggest infection risk. 

The city had adopted a phased approach to step two. Oslo entered the first phase of step two on May 5th when shops and malls reopened.

From Wednesday, the following measures were allowed:

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants reopen, alcohol can be served until 10 pm. The city council hasn’t set a limit, so it is likely that capacity will be in line with national recommendations. 
  • Gyms and swimming pools reopen, a capacity of 20 people will be in place. Indoor leisure activities and training for children and young people reopen.
  • Cinemas, theatres can reopen for up to 20 people at a time. Museums and galleries can also open.
  • Events with up to 20 people in fixed designated seating are allowed. Outdoors the limit will be 30 people without permanent seating and 50 with designated seating.

Oslo’s executive mayor said that the city’s council would consider lifting more measures on June 10th. The mayor wouldn’t say whether the city would move completely to step three in June.

The executive mayor also said that a rise in infections is unlikely to prevent more measures being lifted, due to the majority of older people having received a vaccine. 

“We are making good progress with the vaccination program. This means that we can tolerate somewhat higher infection rates, because the younger people who become infected do not become seriously ill,” Johansen said. 

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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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