Business community in Hemsedal frustrated by corona measures: “Decisions must be made locally”

HemsedalPhoto: Torstein Bøe / NTB

The lockdown in Viken has led to frustration in the business community in Hemsedal. They have no understanding of the measures, which they believe will lead to job losses.

The corona measures have taken a heavy toll on the “Easter” municipalities in Viken. 

Hemsedal is one of the municipalities that has had low infection pressure for a long time. Nevertheless, all shops and department stores in the village must be closed, and restaurants can only offer takeaway.

Erik Teigen, developer and general manager of Skigaarden, which, among other things, runs a cabin rental and restaurant in Hemsedal, is frustrated with the treatment the Municipality and the business community have received recently.

“Decisions must be made locally”

“We have had a close and good dialogue with local and central authorities. We have continuously adapted the measures to the infection situation. 

“Together with the Municipality, we have managed to keep the infection down – even during periods such as the winter and Christmas holidays. Now we no longer feel that small and large municipalities are treated equally,” he pointed out.

Teigen understands that the situation in the country is very demanding and that national authorities must act. On the other hand, he feels that all the municipalities in Viken, regardless of infection pressure, have been subjected to a single format of measures. 

“Decisions must be made locally, and they must be proportionate. That is how it has been done so far during the pandemic. That is how it is practiced regarding Oslo, and that is how it was done regarding Ålesund this weekend. All municipalities must be treated equally,” he noted.

People losing jobs

Teigen says that the measures came as a shock. He believes that the work done by the business community should have been acknowledged to a greater extent.

“We have worked hard during the pandemic to address an infection situation that we knew would come. Through systematic work, we have documented results. We only had 15 registered cases of the mutated virus during the winter holidays, and we kept (the situation under) control,” he added.

The situation has led to 60 employees being without work at Skigaarden. 

“Now we have come to the point that I have to say to my employees: ‘You have done a fantastic job, but unfortunately the central authorities do not trust the job we have done, so we have to lay you off because we are not allowed to stay open.’ It is frustrating,” Teigen said.

He believes that authorities must ensure that tourism in Norway remains robust even after the pandemic.

“Of course, we understand that considerations of life and health trump everything during a pandemic. But we have no understanding for measures introduced without local assessments, that lead to lost jobs and long-term consequences for an entire industry and individuals,” he concluded.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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