New corona measures: Norway introduces national alcohol serving ban

Ingvild KjerkolPhoto: Heiko Junge / NTB

“Now, it is serious,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) said during a corona press conference on Monday.

He pointed out that the infection has increased sharply since the previous measures were presented last week.

“I want to start by saying: Now it’s serious,” Støre said.

“Not many days have passed since we introduced new measures, but since then, the infection has increased sharply,” Støre said.

Kjerkol: We have to use the emergency brake 

Many municipalities have low levels of infection, and new measures may seem excessive, Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol (AP) admitted during the conference.

“But we have to use the emergency brake so that it does not go in the wrong direction,” she stated. 

Earlier Monday, she had a meeting with municipalities and county governors about the infection situation.

“The strict measures we are introducing today may seem excessive in municipalities with low infection rates. But we know that this can change overnight,” she said.

At the same time, the government wants to shield children, young people, and vulnerable groups. The new measures primarily affect meeting places for adults, Kjerkol said.

Ban on alcohol serving 

The government is introducing a ban on all alcohol serving in nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants.

So far, there has been a mandatory stop of alcohol serving after midnight. Now, a full bar stop is being introduced all over the country.

Yellow preparedness level introduced in kindergartens and schools

The government is introducing the yellow corona preparedness level in all the country’s kindergartens and primary and secondary schools.

“It is very important for us to shield children and young people as far as possible, so they can be at school and in kindergarten. When we now go to yellow and red levels, the goal is to prevent infection and ensure that students and teachers stay healthy and stay in school,” Støre explained.

The yellow level includes contact-reducing measures, enhanced cleaning routines, and good hygiene routines, among other things. 

Testing prioritization 

The municipalities must make a stricter prioritization of who will be tested moving forward, the government warned.

“Due to high demand for rapid and self-tests, the municipalities must now make a clearer prioritization of who has to be tested. At the same time, the government has commissioned the Norwegian Directorate of Health to provide more tests immediately,” the government announced in a press release.

“We have recently acquired 10 million rapid and self-tests that will be delivered before the New Year. At the same time, we ask the Norwegian Directorate of Health to start with further procurements immediately.” 

Top-level sports almost unrestricted 

The government’s latest measures affect only a part of top-level sports in Norway. At the same time, measures are introduced for other sports activities.

Among other things, top sports are exempted from the distance requirements during competitions.

“The general recommendations for training for adults over the age of 20, therefore, do not apply to top-level sports. It is important that top-level sports are not defined too broadly. It is based on a definition of top-level athletes based on the Norwegian Sports Confederation’s definition from the summer of 2020,” the government’s recommendation notes.

At the same time, the government is recommending postponing or canceling organized sports activities that take place indoors.

In addition, the authorities recommend that all events connected with organized activities – both outdoors and indoors – be canceled or postponed. Top-level sports are the exception to the recommendation.

“Adults can exercise or have other organized leisure activities outdoors, but it is recommended that the maximum of participants is 20 people and that they keep one meter of distance,” the government recommends.

Armed Forces to assist municipalities with vaccination 

The government is also asking the Armed Forces to assist municipalities that need help with the vaccination of their inhabitants. Pharmacies will also assist nationally.

“Over the weekend, the government has asked the Armed Forces to assist municipalities that need support,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.

In several places in the country, pharmacies have contributed to the vaccination process. Now the government wants to extend this scheme to apply nationally.

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

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