Oslo eases coronavirus restrictions

From Wednesday, the majority of local Covid-19 restrictions in the Norwegian capital, including limits for guests at home, face masks and social distancing, will be eased to be more in line with national measures.

Oslo eases coronavirus restrictions
Oslo city centre. Photo by Metro Centric Flickr.

The announcement was made by Oslo’s Executive Mayor, Raymond Johansen, at a press conference in the Norwegian capital. 

The measures will be lifted midnight Wednesday and will bring restrictions in Oslo mostly in line with the national rules across Norway. 

“As of tomorrow, large parts of the corona rules will be removed in Oslo,” the city’s executive mayor said at the press conference. 

“The gradual, controlled opening of Oslo has been a success. Many of the rules that the people of Oslo have been expected to live with are now being removed, and we will essentially live with the same corona rules as people elsewhere in Norway,” he added.

Local restrictions for indoor and outdoor events are being lifted, along with the limit on having more than ten people in private homes. 

The easing of measures will also see social distancing cut in half to one metre, and facemasks will now only be mandatory on public transport and in taxis. 

The new rules mix steps three and four of the capital’s five-step plan to lift measures and reopen the city. 

The decision to lift coronavirus restrictions comes one week after Oslo City Council decided to extend Covid measures following an 87 percent rise in infections two weeks ago. 

READ ALSO: Oslo extends coronavirus measures after cases rise by 87 percent 

Last week, however, 293 coronavirus infections were registered in Oslo, the lowest number since last autumn. 

From Wednesday the new measures will be: 

  • The ban on having more than ten people gathered in private homes is lifted. 
  • Local restrictions for sports, leisure activates and leisure clubs is removed and replaced with national limits. 
  • Bingo halls, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds and similar venues can reopen. 
  • Local capacities for shops, malls, gyms, museums, galleries, and spas are removed.
  • Requirements for face masks in shops, gyms, restaurants and so on are lifted. Face masks will still be required in taxis and on public transport. 
  • Russ celebrations will be prohibited until July 4th. 
  • Working from home will also be encouraged to continue until July 4th. 
  • Alcohol can be served until midnight in Oslo until July 4th, even if national restrictions change to allow later alcohol service.
  • The recommendation to avoid unnecessary public transport will also continue.
  • Social distancing of one meter 

Current national rules that will apply in Oslo following the measures being lifted are: 

  • Indoor, 50 people are allowed at events without fixed, assigned seats and 200 people at events with fixed designated seating. 
  • For private gatherings in public places, such as restaurant bookings, up to 20 people can meet indoors and up to 30 outdoors. 
  • Outdoors, 600 people are allowed in a public place, with fixed assigned seats, divided into three groups, for example, at a stadium. Once national rules for events and Covid certificates change, this will increase to up to 5,000. 

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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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