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Norway PM Presents Plan to ‘Reopen Country’

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Norway's prime minister has announced a four-step plan to reopen the country following more than a year of coronavirus-related restrictions.

After more than one year of restrictions, the Norwegian prime minister has outlined a plan for a return to normal life. Erna Solberg presented the plan to parliament today followed by a press conference.

Today's announcement had been hotly anticipated. Norway has been under strict rules and regulations for much of 2021 following the start of a third wave of infections.

The Norway tourism hotspot Geiranger and Geirangerfjord

The government's plan consists of four steps. The prime minister stopped short of giving precise dates to the plan. However, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said stage one of the reopening plan is unlikely to begin before mid-May.

“When we open society up again, we will prioritize children and young people first, then consideration for jobs and business,” said Solberg.

There will be at least a three week gap between each step to evaluate the situation. The plan can be adjusted in the case of an upturn in positive tests, new virus variants or delays in the vaccination program, for example.

A “digital coronavirus certificate” under consideration

Solberg says the government is considering the use of a national coronavirus certificate in order to open up parts of society faster. This would involve a digital record of test and vaccine status.

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaking at the Norwegian Parliament
Erna Solberg, Norway's prime minister

International travel still discouraged

“It will probably take some time until we can revoke the advice not to travel abroad,” said the prime minister, adding, “and even longer until we can lift the quarantine obligation when you return.”

This will prove frustrating to many international tourists who had hoped to visit Norway this summer. At present, the vast majority of non-residents arriving at the Norwegian border must stay in a quarantine hotel for up to 10 days. Even some residents returning form non-essential travel are subject to this requirement.

The plan announced by Solberg today is as follows:

Step One

In the first level of reopening, there will be a limit of five guests in private homes. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol until 10pm but there will be a requirement for food service.

Up to 100 people will be permitted at indoor events, with between 200 and 600 at outdoor events depending on whether fixed seating is available. The requirement for social distancing of at least one metre is retained.

Lion statue outside the Norwegian parliament building in Oslo, Norway
Solberg announced the plans in the Norwegian parliament.

Step Two

In the second level of reopening, the limit on house guests will be raised to 10. Private events in rented locations can take place with a limit of 20 guests. Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol until midnight without the requirement of food service.

Indoor events can be held with up to 200 people in designated seats. Training and events for children and young people can go ahead with a limit of 100 people indoors, while the restrictions on grassroots sports for adults are eased.

All domestic travel will be permitted. However, the restrictions on international travel remain in place. Family visits from abroad will be permitted for certain groups, with some relief for business travel also introduced.

Step Three

The numbers of people allowed at events will be increased. For public events, assessments will be made that may include the possible use of “coronavirus certificates” and rapid tests.

Norway travel ban at airports
Entry restrictions are likely to remain in place for many months.

The recommendation for home office continues. There will no longer be any restrictions on the serving of alcohol.

International travel restrictions will be relaxed, but testing and quarantine requirements will likely continue.

Step Four

By the time step four is introduced, society will be mostly back to normal. However, there will still be requirements for infection control measures such as social distancing and staying at home if you feel sick.

Some restrictions on large public events may remain in place, but this will be considered on an ongoing basis. Entry restrictions may still be required, especially for travellers from outside the EU/EEA.

Denmark's reopening plan is underway

Before Easter, Denmark had announced its own timetable back to normality. Backed by parliament, the plan sets out a phased reopening. Each phase is separated by two weeks in order for an ongoing assessment to take place.

The assessment will include the current status of infections along with progress on the national vaccination plan. The government said it plans for the majority of restrictions to be lifted once all residents over the age of 50 have been vaccinated. 

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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5 thoughts on “Norway PM Presents Plan to ‘Reopen Country’”

  1. Hei David, do you know for new international students wishing to enter Norway before autumn, which step are they included in? I cannot find many information about it. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      I was wondering if you had any idea when the country will open back up for boyfriends / girlfriends to visit? I am from the UK and haven’t been able to see my girlfried since November. We have been together for 4 years. We had 6months apart last year due to Covid so we really need to get back together asap!

      Thanks in advance if you can clarify this at all.

      Reply
  2. Hi, David.

    Just found you website. It’s a great source of information about Norway!
    I’m a philosophy student from Brazil, currently applying to a vacant PhD at Oslo University. The PhD is set to start as early as October/2021.
    From what I could understand, even international students (outside EU) should be allowed to travel to Norway, right?
    Do you think that by October step four will already be reached?

    Thank you for your attention, and thanks for maintaining such a well-made website.

    Reply

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