Coronavirus: Norway Announces Timetable for Lifting Restrictions

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Norway infection control measures

Two months after introducing extreme restrictions to everyday life, the Norwegian government has announced a timetable for a return to normal. Here's what you need to know.

It feels like a long time now since life was ‘normal'. For two months now, everyday life in Norway has been severely restricted. The aim? To prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As the rate of infections, the death rate and the number of people hospitalised have all been falling for two weeks now, the government has already begun to relax some of the restrictions. At the time of writing, 217 people have died in Norway, from 8,015 confirmed infections.

The story so far

Before today's announcement, some restrictions had already been lifted. The controversial ban on cabin stays outside your home municipality was removed. Kindergartens reopened, followed by schools for the youngest children. Small events of up to 50 people in public places are also allowed from today, with conditions.

Following today's press conference, we know much more about what we can do, and when. The goal is that by 15 June, most of what has been closed will be open.

Giant Norway flag on 17 May parade in Oslo
Restrictions for 17th May are clearer now.

Immediate changes

“You have shown us patience, now it is our turn to give back. That is why we are presenting a plan to reopen Norway, a plan to take back everyday life,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The following changes are effective immediately:

Groups in private: The recommended size of groups in private contexts is increased from five to a maximum of 20 people. However, they must keep at least one metre distance from each other. This means that organised sports activities such as workouts can be carried out for up to 20 people with the distance requirements in place.

Sports halls: Can open, but changing facilities must be kept closed.

International travel: It is still not advised. However, the ban on foreign travel for health professionals is lifted. People who return from abroad must still undergo quarantine.

Home quarantine: The home quarantine requirement is reduced from 14 to 10 days. This applies to those returning from abroad, and also those who have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. Those who have already been infected will be exempt from quarantine for six months.

Employment: The government continues its recommendation for employees to work from home wherever possible. When this isn't possible, employers must ensure staff can keep a distance of at least one metre from each other during working hours.

Football training: Organised training sessions for professional football can be held.

Live concert at Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway
Large events remain banned throughout the summer.

The new timetable

11 May: All schools will be permitted to reopen. Municipalities have the power to decide to delay this if necessary. “The government has chosen to prioritize children and young people first, then working life, then other activities,” said Solberg.

Adult education centres can also reopen, including integration programmes for refugees.

15 May: New guidance on travel is to be announced. You can read the announcement here.

17 May: It was confirmed that the new rule on private events will apply for Norway's National Day celebrations. Private gatherings of 20 will be permitted as long as social distancing is maintained. Public events will be limited to 50 people. Here are Oslo's plans for the big day.

1 June: Amusement parks can reopen. Serving places without food (e.g. bars) can reopen, with a one metre social distancing rule applied.

15 June: Most other things will be permitted to reopen. This includes a change on the limit of small events from 50 to 200 people. This change will allow the Norwegian football season to begin, albeit without spectators. Water parks and swimming pools can reopen, if suitable infection control measures can be agreed.

Norway football match at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo
Norwegian football will return on 15 June, albeit with empty stadiums.

There is no news yet on when the border will reopen for international visitors. However, the Prime Minister indicated this is unlikely to happen soon.

Update: The border will remain closed to most foreigners until at least August 20. However, the Prime Minister announced this could be relaxed early for Nordic citizens and potentially some other European countries.

Social distancing measures remain in place

Despite this announcement, the Prime Minister made it clear that people must continue to comply with the measures to prevent infection. “For a long time to come, we have to keep a metre away from one another, wash our hands and not hug each other,” she said.

Future planning

Norway's Health Minister Bent Høie said that the government believes it will take up to two years for a vaccine to arrive. For this reason, the government has “created a separate strategy and plan for how we can live with the virus, while also opening society.”

As part of this week, the government considers three different scenarios. The first assumes we have control over the spread of infection, while the second considers a sharp increase in those becoming ill, putting pressure on the health service. The final scenario is much more extreme, involving the breakdown of international cooperation. Most of the work has so far gone into the first two scenarios, explained Høie.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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54 thoughts on “Coronavirus: Norway Announces Timetable for Lifting Restrictions”

  1. Any news regarding, when we are able to travel to Norway for holiday reasons? Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • As the article says: “There is no news yet on when the border will reopen for international visitors. However, the Prime Minister indicated this is unlikely to happen soon.”

      • we are due to cruise to Norway on september 12th 2020 and we was hoping this might happen but reading this comment this is looking very unlikely now even if P & O decide to start back no point if we can NOT dock

    • I canceled by trip to Svalbard this year on June 8. Highly doubt foreigners will be allowed in during the next few months.

  2. Thanks for this — I am confused however – it’s says that from June 1st ‘Serving places without food can reopen‘ however, I have seen that some restaurants are already open and serving food, which seems to contradict government advice. Can you shed some light on this?

    • Restaurants have been able to open as long as they can guarantee social distancing, which is why most either closed or went take-away only. Bars (without food) have been closed, however.

  3. Thank you for the update David, your newsletter, website and book are such important and reliable references for us. We made it out of SA by the skin of our teeth on 24 March and are devouring just about everything you write.
    Jane – Bergen

  4. Hi, do you know if it might be possible to travel outside EU for family visit? I’m not a Norwegian Citizen yet but I have permanent residence.. borders being closed mean not travel for us or just not foreign visitors?

    • Your issue isn’t Norway, it’s where you’re going TO that matters. Plus there are so few flights anyway. If you do leave, you will face a quarantine when you return.

  5. Thanks for the update! Saw your answer regarding “….border will response…” What about cruises? We signed up for a cycling cruise embark from Bergen on 23 August 2020 – 3 Sept Gotborg and as of today, the organizer said the cruise is still on…however, my optimism is less as each day goes by.

  6. Thank you, David, for all the pertinent information you publish on a timely basis. It gives me current news I can discuss with my Norwegian relatives. Tusen takk!

  7. Thank you David for keeping us informed.
    Even if it is not possible to travel to Norway , we have a taste of it.

  8. Not being a citizen yet, would we be allowed to travel to Stockholm to fetch our animals that are flying in on SAS. I am on a Brit passport and want to be able to return to Norway? My husband is reluctant to try this route as he fears not getting back into Norway.

  9. Was hoping to be able to travel to Norway next august, but i think its not gonna happen! so sad…being in a long distant relationship with a norwegian is hard haha 😀

  10. Good evening Mr.Nikel,could you tell me if Norway requires a prove of test on Covid 19 when entering the country? (Some countrys do).I should fly back on 18th may (have a residence permit).Thank you.

  11. I am an Icelandic citizen who’s living in Sweden but just want to go hom3 for a bit, I guess crossing the boarder from Sweden to Norway to get to Gardemoen around the 21st of May is still big no-no?
    Sorry in advance if it’s a dumb question but I’m currently checking every option here.

  12. Hi,
    Very interesting and informative read! I cannot seem to find much information on moving to Norway during this time.

    My partner, daughter and I are due to move to Norway at the start of July, from the UK. My partner is originally from Norway (and has a Norwegian passport) and is moving back to start a job, do you know if we would all still be able to enter the country?

    Thank you.

  13. David:

    We are planning on visiting Norway in mid-August this year from the US. Do you think the borders will be open then for us to make the trip?

  14. Was so hoping my fiancé would be able to take a flight out from Oslo Norway to come home since we live in the United States. He is a USA citizen. I pray he can come home soon.

  15. I am a student applying for phd for the fall session.. need to know when the travel restrictions will be lifted approximately?

    • Good morning David,
      We are booked on a TUI MARELLA 7 DAY CRUISE on the 4 July 2020 from the UK Port of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to the Norwegian Fjords and what is the likelihood that the ship would be able to dock at the various Norwegian Ports of Call.
      Any advice would be most welcome. Thanks Robert .

  16. The worst part of this for everyone is the not knowing. We have now been visiting Norway for 59 years, and it has encompassed three generations of our family, but have never come up against a problem like this. We have had a cabin in the mountains for 17 years, which we cannot currently visit, as we live in the UK. As everyone knows the border is closed, and there are no planes to get there either. There is no indication when the border will be re-opened, or when flights will resume, so no plans can be made for a visit. We should have been in Norway now, but have had to cancel. we are scheduled again for August, but that doesn’t look very promising at the moment, so will probably have to cancel that as well in due course. Fifty nine years ago our introduction to Norway started in a very unusual way. It looks like it might end now in just as an unusual manner. We need to get back there to sort things out, but it seems unlikely this will happen this year. This makes me very sad!

  17. I’m an EEA citizen with a Norwegian boyfriend I don’t need a visa or a residence permit to be in Norway but with the Corona regulations I can’t enter. I live in Germany now and I wonder what the new changes will bring for me and my boyfriend. 😔

  18. My boyfriend lives in Norway, and I in Germany. How long will it take, that we can see each other? This is not a holiday trip, but our partnership!!

    • Exactly, I’m in the same situation. We are not much different than cohabitants. How does it make it fair allowing people to travel to their holiday properties but still not allowing people to see their partners?
      I think with most category of people being allowed into the country right now and the infection rates slowing down, this seems like a violation of our freedom to be with our long term partners that we haven’t seen in months!

      • The government of Norway does not owe you anything. There’s no such thing as a “violation of your freedom to be with your long-term partners” in any Norwegian law or legislation. Norway doesn’t have an obligation to let you in especially during times of crisis like these. Get over yourselves.

  19. We have a trip planned on 21st August to play at a Bergen Beat Club event at the Peer Gynt hall in Bergen along with about 10 Norwegian bands. We are travelling from Liverpool, UK.
    Do you know if we would be able to do this by then and if the event would be allowed to go ahead ?
    We have all flights booked, through Norwegian Airlines, and hotel rooms organised for our party of 7 but we don’t know what we will be allowed to do or when we will know for certain.
    Thanks for your help here,
    Free Spirit, from Liverpool.

  20. My father has been granted his residence permit (last week) but has been told he cannot leave Australia to be with his wife in Norway until he is told by the embassy. They haven’t seen each other for 3 months.

  21. Thanks David for your pages 🙂 I read from your other page that more family members of EEA citizens, and EEA citizens who are family members of Norwegian citizens, can now travel to Norway,”.
    My boyfriend lives in the Netherlands but he is not a citizen of NL but has Resident Permit.
    Then will he be allowed to come to Norway?

  22. Thanks, David for all the information.
    Do you know something about a yesterday announcement from the government about an extention of borders closure for foreign tourists till 01/01/21? The initial announcement was about 22/08/20…
    Alin, Israel

    • There is a law under discussion that would give the government the power to extend the closure until 1/1, but that would not be the default. The current date is 20 August.

  23. Hi David
    Is it possible that family members that does not have residence in Norway can come to stay with her family?
    We have a daughter in the Netherlands, at university, we live in Norway with residence permits. Our daughter can travel normally to Norway without visa, but due to current circumstances she was not able to travel an stay with us. Do you know if now it is possible?
    David M

  24. I have a holiday booked in Norway from 24 July to 02 August 2020. We are supposed to fly with SAS. Should we cancel this as the country is closed to Foreigners? We are French and Irish? Do we know when a decision will be made as regards the lifting of restrictions to allow French and Irish people to travel to Norway on holiday?

  25. I have a son who lives in Norway and I live in the UK. I haven’t seen him since December 2019 and I’m desperate to see him. However I have nowhere to quarantine. I am hoping they will reduce the quarantine period soon in Norway!

  26. Hello David. I am a UK citizen and have a 5 month job contract due to start in September. Do you think I will be able to travel over at the end of august… I have proof of work. This article is very helpful. thankyou!


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