Step 4 is being delayed – adjustments to Step 3 of the reopening plan

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Following a recommendation from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Government has decided to delay Step 4 of the reopening plan. The transition to Step 4 will be possible at the end of July or the beginning of August, at the earliest.

Information in other languages (more languages will be published as soon as possible):

The reasons include the uncertainty connected to infection rate trends and the Delta variant, as well as the supply of vaccines. Nevertheless, the Norwegian Government will ease certain measures in the current phase of the reopening plan, Step 3.

‘Data, not dates, determines when we can move forward with the reopening of society. There is a risk that the Delta variant may cause a fourth wave of infections among the unvaccinated parts of the population, people who have only received one dose of the vaccine, and vulnerable groups. The Norwegian Directorate of Health and Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommend that we do not move to Step 4 at this time.

The Norwegian Government agrees. The transition to Step 4 will be possible at the end of July or the beginning of August, at the earliest. The decision on when we can move to Step 4 will be based on the rate of infection and the disease burden, the capacity of the health services, and how many people have been vaccinated,’ says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Much attention has been given to the United Kingdom and Israel and their success during the past six months, due to their speedy and efficient vaccination roll-out. Nevertheless, the Delta variant led the United Kingdom to delay its reopening of society. After having lifted most COVID-19 measures earlier this year, Israel has introduced new measures.

‘The Norwegian Government eased measures considerably in Step 3, starting 18 June. We are now travelling more and meeting more people than we were before, and must monitor the consequences before opening up society any more. The spread of the Delta variant in other countries is a cause for concern,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

Adjustments to Step 3: events with the COVID-19 certificate
On Thursday 8 July at 12 am, we are increasing the number of public events that may go ahead using the COVID-19 certificate and rapid testing.

The number of people who can attend outdoor events using a COVID-19 certificate and testing will rise from 5 000 to 7 000, if they sit in designated seating and are divided into cohorts (see table for further details).

The requirement that alcohol may only be served at tables is extended, but the ban on admission after midnight no longer applies to these events.

Protected persons do not need to keep their distance from people in the same group, except if the other group members are unprotected and in a risk group.

‘Using the COVID-19 certificate reduces the risk of outbreaks. These changes will make it easier to safely organise festivals and other events this summer,’ says Ms Solberg.

 

 

Indoors

Outdoors


With designated seating

Maximum 3 000 people (previously 2 500).

Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

Maximum 7 000 people (previously 5 000).

Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.


Without designated seating

Maximum 1 500 people (previously 1 000).

Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

Maximum 3 000 people (previously 2 000).

Up to 500 people per cohort, max. 50% capacity.

 

Kindergartens, after-school programmes and schools in areas with a high infection rate should prepare for yellow level
The Norwegian Government has previously announced that schools and kindergartens may prepare for green level from the autumn. However, it is possible that the increased transmission of the Delta variant and the increasing uncertainty concerning the rate of infection will have consequences for kindergartens, after-school programmes, and schools.

With measures at green level, groups are not sub-divided into cohorts. When cases of COVID-19 occur, this results in many pupils and members of staff having to quarantine. The health authorities are therefore now looking into the use of the TISK strategy (testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine) in relation to having kindergartens and schools at green level. At the moment, kindergartens, schools and after-school programmes in areas with high rates of infection, should plan for yellow level, particularly kindergartens and after-school programmes, as they open before the schools in August.

Quarantine rules for foreign athletes
The Norwegian Government is adjusting travel quarantine rules and giving foreign athletes and their support personnel an exemption from the entry restrictions when travelling to Norway, if they are participating in a range of international sports events.

This includes:

  • The Olympic qualification tournaments in ice hockey for men, 26 to 29 August.

  • The Champions League and the European handball championship for women and men in August.

  • Qualification fixtures for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Conference League for women and men.

  • The following road bicycle races: Ladies Tour of Norway in Viken; Tour of Norway in Rogaland; Arctic Race of Norway in Troms and Finnmark – these are major, well-established international events in Norway which are all held in August.

People participating at these sports events are allowed to enter the country and are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. They will have special quarantine rules on a par with those previously provided for international sports competitions.

Travel quarantine must be completed at a suitable location. It must be possible to avoid close contact with others, and there must be a private bedroom, a separate bathroom, and a separate kitchen or food service.

The Norwegian Government aims to make exemptions from entry restrictions for athletes and support personnel participating in the World Wrestling Championships, the World Powerlifting Championships, and the European Curling Championships, all of which will be held in Norway in October and November.

We want to engage in dialogue with the sports community and find good solutions for which travel quarantine rules to be applied to these events.