The Health Director has a message for partying: It is allowed to have fun

Bjørn GuldvogOslo.Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog.Photo: Fredrik Hagen / NTB scanpix

Health director Bjørn Guldvog is concerned about young people who get tired of coronavirus measures. He emphasizes that the authorities are not against all party activities.

“The authorities do not say “no, no, you must not go to parties, you must not have a party”. We say that it is possible to have fun at a party in 2020, but that there are some rules for it, which means that we have to keep control over the virus”, Guldvog says to NTB.

He is concerned about researches which show that confidence in the authorities’ corona measures has fallen in recent months.

“We see that people in the age group 20-40 years are among those who are starting to get a little “initiative tired”. Then it is important to have a dialogue with them”, he says.

Party campaign Recently, the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the National Institute of Public Health launched the campaign “Party like it’s 2020” to reach young people. The message is that it is okay to party even during a corona pandemic, but that you must follow the one-meter rule, stay home if you are ill, and not be more than 20 people together.

The message is promoted both on social media and on advertising posters.

“We must try to think creatively and engage. We have done this all along, but we must go one step further in being smart about spreading the message”, says Guldvog, who admits that it is not certain that everyone thinks that the new campaign is a “sparkling example” of this.

But it is at least an attempt.

Minister of Health, Bent Høie, has also followed up by sharing eight tips for the party mood and low risk of infection during the corona period on Facebook.

“You do not have to stop the party to stop the infection”, Høie writes.

On one hand, the authorities must communicate with those who are tired of the measures. But on the other hand, there are also those who believe that the measures are not strict enough.

“Many are now seeing that the infection is coming back a bit, and we haven’t beaten it down in the same way as before. Part of the population may miss the very powerful measures we used in March/April. Then it becomes important for us to explain why we do not use them, but still manage to keep control”, says Guldvog.

‘Pour stop’
In early August, however, the government tightened the party regulations. At that time, a ‘bar stop’ was introduced at midnight in all of the country’s pubs and bars.

Because of this measure, the police have subsequently reported and seen an immediate effect of having more noise from home parties during the night. Many now wonder if the risk of infection has maybe  just been transferred from a public place to a private home.

The Director of Health does not necessarily believe that the drinking ban was a mistake, but awaits a possible evaluation.

“But there is no doubt that some of these nightclubs with several people after midnight – and high alcohol consumption – posed a risk of infection. It is not certain that you have reduced the risk a lot by bringing it into private homes, but we will have to investigate that”, he says.

The total instances of partying is smaller Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) announces a new review of this measure in early September. He believes that stopping the serving of alcohol was a correct measure considering the infection situation at that time.

“I think that the total number of parties with a lot of alcohol has become smaller as a result of that measure. Even though some have arranged home parties and after parties – something that was expected – there are still significantly fewer who now meet after midnight with alcohol in their blood where it is difficult to be one meter away from others”, says Høie to NTB.

In a recent survey by Opinion, 71 percent of respondents said they support the introduction of the liquor ban.  

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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