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REVEALED: How Norway will further relax Covid-19 restrictions

Norway will relax its Covid-19 border rules, lift restrictions on grassroots sports and allow more guests to visit homes, as part of the move to step three, the government announced on Friday. 

REVEALED: How Norway will further relax Covid-19 restrictions
Norwegian Prime Minster Erna Solberg. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / POOL / AFP

Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that Norway would be moving to step three of its reopening plan on Sunday.

“My main news today is that we are ready to go to step three. In fact, we will open a little more than what was originally planned for step three,” Solberg said at a press conference. 

The move to step three comes after both the Norwegian Directorate of Health, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommended that Norway move to the third step of its roadmap to lift coronavirus measures. Step three will come into effect on Sunday, June 20th, at midday. 

Step three will see the recommended limit on the number of visitors you can have at home double to 20, up to 100 people can gather at a private event in public, such as a wedding, and up to 1,000 people can be present at an indoor event with a fixed seating plan in place. 

Bars, restaurants and pubs will also be able to serve alcohol past midnight. However, venues are prohibited from letting anyone in past midnight. 

The government have also said that workers can slowly start migrating back to offices, provided workplaces can comply with infection control measures. 

Grassroots sports for adults will be making a comeback in step three too. Participants can now train and compete, and will be exempt from the one-meter social distancing rule while doing so. 

The new rules that increase capacity for events using testing and Covid certificates will also come into effect. The rule change announced Monday will allow up to 5,000 people with valid Covid passes to gather.

READ MORE: IN DETAIL: Norway unveils more details for how Covid-19 certificate will work

Travel

A major shakeup to Norway’s travel rules was also announced. 

Norway will allow travellers from the EU/EEA and the UK to visit family and partners living in Norway. That includes parents, children and grandparents will be allowed to visit.  

Partners can visit also visit from these countries, if they have been together for nine months and have met in person before.

“We know that many have been waiting for this,” Guri Melby, Norway’s education minister, said at the press conference.

Furthermore, from next Thursday, June 24th, EU citizens who have had Covid-19 in the last six months or have been fully vaccinated and have a valid coronavirus certificate can enter Norway. 

“We now see that we will be able to check the corona certificate from other EEA countries as early as June 24th,” education minister Melby said. 

From July 5th, the government will also no longer advise against travel to the EU, EEA and UK and countries on the EU’s safe travel list. They will, however, still advise against travel to areas not in the EU/EEA or the UK, as well countries with high infection rates. 

In the meantime Norway will be loosening the requirements for its own traffic light system

From Monday, Norway will introduce green countries to its traffic light scheme. Countries with less than 25 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 will now be green rather than yellow. 

You can take a look at the list here.

Travellers will also only have to enter quarantine hotels when returning from countries with more than 500 Covid-19 cases per 100,000.

Arrivals from the UK will now have to be quarantined for at least three days due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India.  

We will have all the details for travel included in a separate article later today.

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SAS

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”. 

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