Norway announces changes to its corona measures: Alcohol-serving allowed again

Jonas Gahr StørePhoto: Terje Bendiksby / NTB
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On Thursday evening, the Norwegian government announced changes to the national corona measures in the country.

At the start of the press conference, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that Norway is now in a new phase of the pandemic and that many of the measures can be eased.

“We are now in a new phase of the pandemic. More people in our country have been vaccinated and are thus better protected now than in mid-December,” Støre said.

More than 1 million people have been vaccinated in recent weeks, and the government has secured a large number of self-tests.

“This means that we can ease many of the measures that were introduced four weeks ago,” Støre said.

He said that the omicron virus is dominant and that the infection is increasing rapidly, but that far fewer people are becoming seriously ill.

The government is partially removing its national alcohol-serving ban. It will now be allowed to serve beer, wine, and spirits until 11 PM.

Alcohol-serving

“Serving will take place at the tables, and these changes will take effect tomorrow,” Støre (AP) said at Thursday’s corona press conference.

Earlier in the day, the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health advised the government to keep restrictions on alcohol-serving in place but allowed for partial relief.

Home office

The government stated that everyone who can work from home should still do so.

Employers must ensure that employees work from home if it is possible in practice. 

The health authorities recommended that the measure be retained. They think it works well to prevent infection and that it is relatively non-invasive.

Green level in upper secondary schools

Upper secondary schools and adult education institutions will no longer operate at the red level. Moving forward, they will operate at the green level.

The municipalities are asked to follow the development of the infection situation and adjust the level of measures in line with the development.

Kindergartens and schools must be prepared for a rapid transition to a stricter level of measures, it was pointed out.

Yellow level requirement for schools and kindergartens removed

The government is removing the national requirement for a yellow level of preparedness in schools and kindergartens. Still, it recommends keeping the yellow level in place if the infection situation demands it. 

Regular testing in schools and kindergartens will be used to a greater extent in areas with high infection pressure. 

The municipalities will have to adjust the level of measures according to the local infection situation.

“Kindergartens and schools must be prepared for a rapid transition to a stricter level of measures,” the government warned.

Changes to the quarantine rules for “other close contacts”

Infection quarantine for other close contacts to infected persons, i.e., people who aren’t household members or similar relatives, is being replaced by a testing regime.

Other close contacts are recommended to be tested three days after close contact and again two days later (on day 5). However, they no longer have to go into quarantine.

The TISK strategy is also changing to become more sustainable through a period of increasing infection, according to Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol (AP).

Outdoor sports 

The government has decided that outdoor sports activities for children and young people can be carried out as normal. Indoors, a group size of 20 people is recommended.

Indoor activity can be carried out with contact where necessary for children and young people under 20 years of age.

The relief does not cover adults over the age of 20. There will still be a recommended limit of 20 people, and a distance of one meter should be kept indoors.

Maximum number of event participants increased 

Up to 200 people can now gather at indoor events with fixed seating. Without fixed assigned places indoors, the limit is set at 30 people.

Indoors, the limit will be 200 people with fixed seating, but infection control precautions – including distance and face masks – have to be implemented. 

“These restrictions on events have major consequences for the entire value chain in the culture, sports, and volunteering sectors. To ease some of the burden, the government has therefore increased the maximum number limit for events,” Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Anette Trettebergstuen (AP) stated.

Outdoors, there can now be 200 people without fixed allocated places. 

Guest limit

The recommendations on keeping distance, wearing face masks, and having a maximum of 10 guests in private homes remain in place.

The government also advises people to limit their number of close contacts.

“You should not have more than 10 guests at home in addition to your own household members,” the recommendations state.

The government is also keeping in place the recommendation to keep one meter of distance from people who aren’t your close contacts. 

In addition, the requirement to wear a face mask when it is not possible to keep at least one meter of distance from others in shops, shopping centers, restaurants, public transport, taxis, and indoor station areas will also continue to apply.

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

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