Wednesday, October 20

The government bets on the total reopening on Saturday at 16:00

Health Minister Bent Høie points out that the meter should be removed.

The health authorities recommended that the company could not be fully open until the end of the month. But the government is pushing for normal life tomorrow.

It was clear when the government met with the press in the Marble Hall of the Ministry of Climate and Environment on Friday morning.

562 days with measurements – management wanted more

– Today marks 561 days since we introduced the strictest measures in times of peace. The time has come. Now we are back to normal everyday life, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. the vast majority of infection control measures will be removed.

– The short version of this: now we can live normally, said Solberg, who thanked everyone living in Norway for the effort.

This means, among other things:

  • The subway rule is repealed, a rule that has been particularly important to business and culture.
  • Event restrictions will be lifted. That means everything from movie theaters, restaurants, and concerts to sporting events. Cultural life has long been lived with restrictions on the number of guests.
  • It is allowed to drink beer in the bar. The requirement that everyone be served at restaurant and nightclub tables is abolished.
  • You can stop by the issuer after midnight. Now no one is allowed in after 24 hours, even though the beer taps are open late into the night.
  • There will also be relief in the entry rules. The government will remove the rule preventing entry to Norway. This mainly applies to EU countries. There will still be some requirements for test and quarantine hotels, but exactly which ones are unclear.
Health Minister Bent Høie bends the meter.

Just hours before the government press conference, the Norwegian Health Directorate and the National Institute of Public Health announced their advice for reopening. They thought that the government should advance its plan to reopen to a “normal daily life with greater preparation” only at the end of the month.

– We wanted to make sure that the municipalities were well prepared for the upcoming changes. In terms of infection, it was possible to reopen earlier, says health director Bjørn Guldvog.

Are all municipalities prepared?

– It will probably vary. Probably several municipalities will say that they want more time. But here the government has weighed the contagion situation against the restriction for the individual, and has come to the conclusion that it is disproportionate to continue with the measures, he says.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Bent Høie called on all municipalities in the country to prepare for the disappearance of national standards, and that all this could happen today.

Many actors of cultural life have hoped to be able to “get off the subway” already this weekend. So it turned out. Now they can let go of the jubilation, but they have to wait to dance until tomorrow:

– The rules are still such that we can’t, and the restaurant world can’t start filling dance floors and clearing tables and stuff until tomorrow, Solberg said.

Here the subway is gone.

Bent Høie: – I take care of the meter.

It was also revealed during the press conference that the government is planning a continued increase in preparedness. This applies in the first instance until the new year. However, Health Minister Bent Høie calls on the population to be prepared for further preparation next winter as well.

This is to ensure sufficient preparedness to be able to handle the situation, should it change, according to Høie.

– I bend the subway well, and I take good care of it. You can use it for it again.

Bent Høie and Erna Solberg hug.

Why open now?

– The health authorities recommended the change of month, so it happens a week before. Have you sneaked around a bit?

– No, we don’t mean that. FHI came up with its recommendation on Monday. Since then, the government has closely followed developments. At the same time, we have taken into account the reasons why we should have waited, such as the preparations in the municipalities, for example, says Health Minister Høie.

The government landed after the evaluations that it does well to open now.

He receives the support of the Prime Minister.

– It’s not rushed. In terms of infection control, it’s okay to open now, says Solberg.

She says the main reason FHI recommended the month change was to give municipalities time to adjust.

– We have worked closely with the municipalities since last Friday, and we came to the conclusion that we do not need the extra time. So it is disproportionate to continue with measures that affect many, says the Prime Minister.

The Health Director emphasizes that the decision to reopen is the task of politicians.

– Are you behind that decision?

– It is the government’s assessment, but I have no reason to think otherwise, says Guldvog.

Not everything will be as before

During the press conference, the Prime Minister said that she does not believe that everything is as before.

– What do you think will not be like before?

– I mean we take the memory of this with us. We will carry more habits from the last 18 months with us, says Solberg.

It also points out the social changes that the coronavirus has brought with it.

– We have carried out an urgent digitization of Norwegian society and it will continue. This allows us to think differently about work, settlement, and other things.

Normal everyday life in school and kindergarten.

Schools and kindergartens must return to normal everyday life.

– The main rule is the normal operation of kindergartens and schools, said the Minister of Education and Integration, Guri Melby.

The traffic light model in schools and kindergartens can be introduced by municipalities at the local level, but only exceptionally.

Melby further stated that the absence rules are also back to normal.

The government repeals the exception in the rule of absence in upper secondary school as of October 11. Students must have a medical certificate again for sick leave to be approved.

– Students cannot use a parent’s self-declaration or confirmation if there is an absence for health reasons, says the Minister of Education and Integration, Guri Melby, during the press conference.

He noted that the absentee rule is important to ensure school attendance and helps people complete upper secondary school.

– The time has come, said the Prime Minister.

Entry restrictions are eased

– Starting tomorrow, we will allow people from all EEA countries and the so-called “purple countries” to enter Norway, says Mæland.

The mandatory quarantine hotel scheme was abolished.

Travelers from some non-EU countries and travelers who are not fully vaccinated should remain in quarantine. The quarantined hotel is kept as a voluntary offer.

The Global Travel Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be repealed on October 1.

– To those who are going to travel the world, now I say good luck, says Mæland.

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