The next step of the reopening will be implemented on 27 May

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The Norwegian Government is moving to Step 2 of the reopening plan on Thursday 27 May at 12 am. From that date, among other things, more people will be allowed to congregate than today, and kindergartens and schools will be able to move to the green level of measures where the rate of infection is low. Already from today, domestic travel is no longer discouraged.

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'We see that the number of hospital admissions is declining. The rate of infection is stable. The first vaccine dose has now been administered to 36% of all people over the age of 18. Vaccination is progressing as planned. Following an overall assessment, the Norwegian Government believes that the time has come to move to the next step of the reopening of Norway. Now we can intensify the work of awakening Norway from its slumber', says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The decision to move to Step 2 is based on the recommendations of the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Even though we are now easing measures nationally, we still have to take care. Local outbreaks and a higher rate of infection in some parts of the country means that we need stricter local rules. We must therefore remain prepared for differences in measures around the country.

‘As we reopen nationally, it is important that the municipalities have time to consider whether they need stricter local rules to keep the rate of infection under control. This is why these changes will not enter into effect until 27 May', stresses the Prime Minister.

A few minor adjustments are being made to the steps in the Norwegian Government's plan for gradual reopening. This also applies to Steps 3 and 4.

Green level possible at kindergartens and schools
Until now, the national guidance has been for kindergartens and schools to be placed at yellow level. From 27 May, the municipalities will themselves be able to decide which level of measures to apply to their kindergartens and schools, based on the local infection situation. This means that municipalities with a low rate of infection now are free to decide whether to move to green level in the traffic light model.

'As the Norwegian Government reopens the country, we are prioritising children and adolescents. They will be subject to measures that are less strict than those for adults. Step 2 means a more ordinary daily life for many kindergartens and schools. Students will be allowed a greater physical presence on campus so that they can meet each other and receive the best teaching possible', says Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby.

A condition for moving to green level is that the municipality has a low rate of infection over time, good test capacity, and an updated overview of the number of cases of COVID-19. It must also have a plan for rapid escalation to yellow or red level measures.

In order to allow more physical teaching at universities and university colleges, the Norwegian Government is introducing increased use of regular testing and registration of people present in order to simplify contact tracing.

Leisure activities
The recommended group size for organised recreational sports training and cultural and leisure activities for adults over the age of 20 is increased: from 10 to 20 people indoors and from 20 to 30 people outdoors. Several groups can be active at the same time, as long as they are kept in separate cohorts.

Events
At Step 2, more people can participate in events for children and adolescents. Up to 100 people may attend indoor events for participants under the age of 20 who live in the same municipality.

'I am glad that we are now making it easier for children and adolescents to meet each other and participate in activities. It is not a requirement that they come from the same municipality. This means that children and adolescents who live in one municipality but who train, practice, rehearse etc. with a club or sports team, etc. in a neighbouring municipality may also participate in events with their organisation in the neighbouring municipality', says Minister of Children and Families Kjell Ingolf Ropstad.

The number of participants at public indoor events without designated seating is increased from 10 to 50 people.

The number of participants at private events that are not held in private homes, gardens, or cabins is increased from 10 to 20 people indoors and from 20 to 30 outdoors. Examples of this are celebrations held in a rented or public venue.

The recommendation regarding the number of guests people may receive in private homes is increased from 5 to 10 as long as they can keep a distance of 1 metre.

Protected people (Lovdata) are not included in the recommendation regarding the maximum number of guests in private homes. It must still be possible to keep a distance between unprotected people.

Trade fairs and temporary markets will now be regulated in the same way as shopping centres, and not as events.

Domestic travel
Domestic travel is now permitted, but it is important that the trip is planned in such a way as to prevent spread of infection. This is particularly important for people who travel from areas with a high rate of infection.

Protected (Lovdata) people who live in a municipality with strict measures and travel to a municipality with less strict measures are not covered by the recommendation to follow the rules and recommendations in their home municipality.

As these new recommendations regarding domestic travel do not require extra preparations or assessments by the municipalities, they will already come into effect today.

Serving of alcohol
Serving of alcohol and admission to venues ends at midnight, and the requirement of food service in connection with the serving of alcohol is lifted. Guests will still be required to be seated at a table and keep a distance of 1 metre from one another.

Testing
The Norwegian Government is allowing expanded use of mass testing in areas where the reopening increases the risk of a higher rate of infection, especially in areas which have had strict measures for a long time.

'We will explore how to put a system in place where private players are used to perform testing in order to improve test capacity so that, for example, greater numbers of people can attend events. We expect the Norwegian Government to pay for this', states Ms Melby.

The test criteria will be changed so that the municipalities can test people who are not suspected of having COVID-19. The municipalities will be able to prioritise available test capacity for these new purposes.

'We will also use mass testing for leisure activities and low-threshold services in mental health care and drug/alcohol addiction, and at workplaces where employees come into contact with many people. During the school holiday, we will use regular testing in order to reopen more activities for children and adolescents, like summer schools, summer activities and summer camps', says Mr Ropstad.

Elite sports
Elite sports is a new category in the reopening plan. Step 2 allows practice matches in the PostNord football league and in other elite sports series that have not had measures lifted yet. The Norwegian Government will allow series matches in the same series 3 weeks after 27 May, as long as experiences from the practice matches and the rate of infection do not indicate otherwise.

Definitions

Fully vaccinated:

  • People who have received 2 doses of the vaccine, effective 1 week after the final dose.

  • People who have had COVID-19 and received 1 vaccine dose at least 3 weeks after the test date, effective 1 week after vaccination.

  • People who have received 1 vaccine dose and have received a positive test result for COVID-19 using an approved laboratory method at least 3 weeks after vaccination, and who have come out of isolation.

Protected:

  • People who are fully vaccinated.

  • People who have received the first vaccine dose, and 3–15 weeks have elapsed since vaccination.

  • People who have had COVID-19, from the time of leaving isolation until 6 months after a test using an approved laboratory method.

These are the national measures that apply from 27 May:

Events
People are encouraged to exercise caution and plan their participation at events in such a way as to prevent spread of infection. This includes not attending events in a different municipality than the one they live in if it has a high rate of infection.

The rules for events are as follows:

  • A maximum of 20 participants at private indoor events, unless this is in a private home, for example a birthday in a rented venue. The limit outdoors is 30 people. Children in the same kindergarten or primary school cohort can gather with the necessary number of adults accompanying them. (New)

  • A maximum of 50 people at indoor public events without designated seating, albeit up to 100 people at events for participants under the age of 20 who live in the same municipality or who participate in training, practice, rehearsal, etc. in the same municipality. (New)

  • A maximum of 200 people at indoor events where all of the participants sit in designated seating (New).

  • A maximum of 200 people at outdoor events, but 600 people (divided into three cohorts of 200 people each) if they sit in designated seating, and there is a 2-metre distance between each cohort.

  • The organiser must implement measures to satisfy the distance requirements regarding participants from different households at events where participants sit in designated seating. If necessary, guards must be used to ensure this.

  • The same rules regarding the serving of alcohol apply to events as to venues that serve food or alcohol.

Night life, venues that serve food or alcohol and events that have a licence to serve alcohol

  • Serving of alcohol and admission to venues ends at midnight. Food service is not a requirement. (New)

  • Required infection control measures: Registration, reduced number of guests, and indoor and outdoor distance requirements.

Keep a distance of 1 metre. Keep your hands clean. Stay home if you are ill.
Social contact

  • No more than 10 guests. (New)

  • More guests are permitted if all of the guests come from the same household, but it must be possible to keep a distance.

  • People are encouraged to meet others outdoors.

  • Children in kindergartens and primary school may receive a visit from other children in their cohort.

  • Protected people (Lovdata)are not included in the maximum number of guests in private homes, but it must still be possible to keep a distance between unprotected people (Lovdata). (New)

Travel

  • International travel is not advised. Strictly necessary travel is permitted.

  • Domestic travel is permitted. Unprotected people should take extra care and plan the trip in such a way as to prevent spread of infection. This is particularly important for people who travel from areas with a high rate of infection. (New)

  • People who travel to municipalities with less strict measures should follow the recommendations that apply in the municipality in which they usually reside. This does not apply to people who are protected (Lovdata). (New)

Kindergartens and schools
Kindergartens and schools will follow the traffic light model with green, yellow, or red level measures in accordance with local assessments made by each municipality. The national guidance to keep kindergartens and schools at yellow level has been lifted. (New)

Higher education

  • More physical teaching and increased use of regular testing. (New)

  • Register the names of people present and what seat they are in to make contact tracing easier. (New)

Working life

  • Anyone who can, should work from home and/or have flexible working hours.

Business sector

  • Open with infection control measures in accordance with the relevant industry standard and statutory requirements.

  • Trade fairs and temporary markets are now regulated in the same way as shops, and are no longer considered events. Contact details must be registered for the guests who permit such registration. (New)

Sports and leisure activities

  • Adults over the age of 20 may participate in organised indoor activities like training, practice, etc. in groups of up to 20 people, as long as they can keep a distance of at least 1 metre. (New)

  • Adults over the age of 20 may participate in organised outdoor activities in groups of up to 30 people, as long as they can keep a distance of at least 1 metre. (New)

  • Several groups can congregate in the same training/practice arenas if the groups are kept separate, and in such a way that they individually and as a whole can follow the advice regarding infection control.

  • Children and adolescents under the age of 20 can train and participate in sports, culture, and leisure activities, and are exempt from the recommendation of a 1-metre distance when necessary in order to participate in the activity.

  • If children and adolescents train/practice with a team, club etc. in another municipality, they may compete with this team/club if so permitted by the infection situation.

  • Teams from small municipalities that do not have other opponents in the municipality can travel to the neighbouring municipality to compete as long as the municipalities have the same level of infection. (New)

  • Outdoor activities are recommended rather than indoor activities.

Elite sports (New)

  • Elite athletes may train normally, both outdoors and indoors.

  • Practice matches are allowed in all teams in elite sports series, including the PostNord league. Series matches are allowed 3 weeks after introducing Step 2 if experiences from the training matches and the infection situation do not indicate otherwise. (New)