The country’s bars and pubs still have to close at midnight every night, while the government investigates the rules. – Completely incomprehensible, the industry replies.
“I think the nightlife regulations have led to less partying, and that more people go home earlier. But it has also led to more private parties, where the infection control is the first guest to go to bed,” says Minister of Health Bent Høie (Høyre).
At Wednesday’s corona press conference, the Minister of Health said that the government will now look at the experiences after just over three weeks with previously closed bars and pubs. In the meantime, the current rules will be continued until further notice.
He has previously announced a new assessment of the stricter bar rules at the beginning of September, and insists that this still applies:
“We’ll do what we have said all along: An assessment of the infection situation in early September. Now it’s September 2nd, so it’s happening around now. Then, on the basis of that assessment, we will make an assessment of the measures and come to conclusions before mid-September,” says Høie to NTB.
Parties held at home
The government has recently been under pressure to loosen up the stricter bar rules. The City Councils in both Oslo and Bergen have called for a reassessment of the entire scheme and pointed out that the number of home parties and after parties has increased and thus contributed to increased infection.
FrP has also clearly stands against the early closing times, and reacts strongly to the scheme being continued until further notice.
“While Bent Høie chooses to close his eyes for a few more weeks, the nightlife industry will lose millions of kroner, and the police will waste unnecessary resources on home disturbances and frustrated neighbors. This is completely meaningless, and FrP has pointed it out all along,” says FrP’s health policy spokesperson Åshild Bruun-Gundersen to NTB.
Virke, which organizes several companies in the nightlife industry, is also not very happy.
“It is completely incomprehensible that the Minister of Health chooses to continue the nightlife regulations with the knowledge we have today. For several weeks we have seen the consequences of this, in that private gatherings have become contagion parties. It is better for people to have a party with professional employees in the service industry than in private rooms where no one makes sure that the infection control rules are complied with,” says CEO Ivar Horneland Kristensen of Virke.
Høie, on the other hand, believes that a skewed impression has been created in the public debate.
“One can get the impression that Norway is a different country because we have such strict nightlife rules, but the truth is really the opposite,” says Høie.
He points out that all places serving alcohol must close by 11 pm in Iceland, and that they have not yet opened the nightclubs in countries such as Denmark and England.
At the same time, Høie emphasizes that the rules were not introduced due to dissatisfaction with infection control at the service spots.
“Many service hubs here have been very good. The infection rules have been introduced because we as guests adhered to the rules less, the longer we partied and the more we drank,” says Høie.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today