COVID-19: Restrictions to be relaxed as from 10 December

COVID-19: Restrictions to be relaxed as from 10 December
Photo: ©Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson - www.arctic-images.com

The Minister of Health has decided on changes to the preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, taking effect on 10 December 2020. On that date, some cautious relaxations will be made to the restrictions on the size of gatherings, and the new rules will remain in force until 12 January 2021. The rules applying in schools will continue unchanged, for the most part, until the end of the year; it is planned to announce new rules shortly that will take effect in schools on 1 January 2021.

Delicate situation

These changes are for the most part in accordance with the recommendations from the Chief Epidemiologist. As has been reported, there have been ups and downs in the pattern of COVID-19 infections since the current restrictions were imposed. A noticeable surge in infections took place at the end of November, but the past few days have seen a fall in the infection rate, with most cases diagnosed being in people who are already in quarantine. “It is therefore clear that we have managed to control the pandemic to a reasonable extent at the moment,” says the Chief Epidemiologist, “but at the same time the situation can be described as delicate. Things could go either way.”

Principal changes to the restrictions on gatherings

  • Size restrictions: With certain exceptions, a maximum of 10 persons continues to apply.
  • Children: The provisions on maximum size of gatherings, social distancing and the obligation to use face-masks do not apply to children born in or after 2005.
  • Shops: All shops may admit 5 customers for every 10 m² of their floor area, up to a maximum of 100 persons.
  • Restaurants: Up to 15 customers may be admitted to each restricted area. Premises may stay open until 10 p.m. but may not admit new guests after 9 p.m.
  • Swimming pools and bathing facilities: These may be opened to up to 50% of the maximum number of guests permitted under their operating licences.
  • Sports under the auspices of the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland (ÍSÍ): Sports training sessions for persons born in or before 2004 are permitted, whether or not they involve physical contact, in sports in the senior league of ÍSÍ.Training sessions for prominent athletes in sports for solo participants are permitted. However, training in combat sports which involve physical contact is not permitted.
  • Other sport: All persons are permitted to pursue organised training out of doors which does not involve physical contact.
  • Stage performances, cinema showings and other cultural events will be permitted with up to 30 persons on stage; this applies to both rehearsals and performances. Up to 50 audience members may be admitted; they shall be seated, and must use face-masks; up to 100 children born in or after 2005 may be admitted. Neither intervals nor the sale of alcoholic beverages during performances are permitted. Seats shall be numbered, and the names of their occupants shall be recorded.
  • Funerals: A maximum of 50 guests may attend funerals.
  • Period of validity: The changes listed above shall be in force from 10 December 2020 until 12 January 2021.

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