No typical Christmas? These are the strict corona measures that will affect the holidays in Norway

ChristmasPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) came up with a cold shower as a pre-Christmas gift when he introduced restrictions in bar/restaurant drinking and private lives, along with several new measures, on Tuesday.

“I understand very well that this is despairing,” Støre said at the press conference he held on Tuesday.

There, he introduced measures stricter than most had imagined would come when Norway celebrated the reopening 73 days ago. Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol (AP) has also reinstated the one-meter rule.

Strict measures

In addition, strict measures are introduced:

* A maximum of 10 people can gather in private homes, but there can be 20 people on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

* Up to 50 can gather in memorial services after funerals and burials.

* Bar service will stop from midnight throughout the country, and only table service is allowed.

* Everyone in restaurants must keep a distance of one meter.

* There will be a national order to use face masks where the distance requirement cannot be met.

* It is recommended that people who can work at home do so.

* A maximum of 50 can be gathered at public events without fixed, allocated seats.

Strict warning: More worrying than before

The measures take effect at midnight on Thursday night and will last for four weeks.

“We really hoped that Christmas this year could be as before and normal,” Støre said.

The measures come after growth in both the infection rates and the number of corona patients admitted to hospitals. The Norwegian Directorate of Health warns that the situation is now more worrying than in previous pandemic waves.

“We see the situation as serious. Both delta and omicron infection rates are increasing in Norway. The number (of people) who are admitted to hospitals and intensive care units is increasing,” Støre said.

“A rapid increase in seriously ill people can already in a few weeks lead to the health service not being able to provide the necessary health care that we want,” Støre said and added that both cancer patients and emergency patients will then be exposed.

Director of Public Health Camilla Stoltenberg said there is a danger of more illness and death than before in the pandemic.

“The threat from omicron is enormous,” she said.

Reducing close contact

In addition to all the rules that are laid down in regulations, new advice and recommendations are introduced. Støre encourages everyone to reduce their close contacts but says it is up to people themselves to decide.

Currently, children are excluded from the new rules, but the traffic light system may be on its way back. The municipalities are told to prepare at the “yellow” level in schools and kindergartens.

It is also stipulated in regulations that companies such as libraries, fitness centers, shopping centers, and shops must operate in terms of infection control. That means that everyone must be able to hold the one-meter distance.

The mandatory face mask requirement also applies to hairdressers, skincare professionals, and other one-on-one businesses.

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

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