The Bergen outbreak: Strict measures in Bergen and surrounding municipalities

Corona information is frequently changed and may therefore be out of date.

You will find updated news from the Government on Topic Page The coronavirus situation. General information about the coronavirus can be found on Helsenorge.no.

Bergen and its neighbouring municipalities are currently experiencing an outbreak of both the UK variant and the South African variant of the coronavirus. They have therefore asked the Government to implement enhanced infection control measures.

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The enhanced measures will apply from 18.00 on 7 February until and including 14 February. The measures are implemented to allow the municipalities to gain an overview of the situation.

‘We need stricter measures in municipalities that are affected by outbreaks of the more contagious variants of the virus than in the rest of the country. Our goal is still to stop and delay the spread of these more contagious variants. The municipalities that were affected by the outbreak in Nordre Follo succeeded in doing this, and I believe Bergen and the surrounding areas will as well,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

The Government can decide what measures to implement in a municipality and its neighbouring municipalities when it is crucial to implement measures in a swift and coordinated effort to prevent the virus from spreading.

‘Ring 1 municipalities’ include the municipality where an outbreak has taken place and municipalities affected by the same outbreak, as well as municipalities whose inhabitants are in frequent contact with the municipality with the outbreak has taken place.

‘Ring 2 municipalities’ include municipalities that border on the ‘ring 1 municipalities’ and that must also implement measures swiftly as a result of the outbreak.

Ring 1 and ring 2 are only geographical descriptions. The level of measures chosen for ring 1 and ring 2 depend on how serious the outbreak is.

The following municipalities are defined as ring 1 municipalities: Bergen, Kvam and Ulvik

The following municipalities are defined as ring 2 municipalities: Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss and Øygarden.

Measure level A (regulated in the COVID-19 Regulations Chapter 5A) will apply in the ring 1 municipalities. Recommendations are also issued.

Measure level B (COVID-19 Regulations Chapter 5B) will apply in the ring 2 municipalities. Recommendations are also issued.

What does ring 1 and ring 2 mean? Read more about the levels of measures that apply in ring 1 municipalities and ring 2 municipalities here. 

This applies to the following municipalities: Bergen, Kvam and Ulvik

Kindergartens, schools, universities, university colleges and tertiary vocational colleges

Raised to red level in kindergartens, primary schools and lower secondary schools in line with the national traffic light model.

The municipal infection control authorities can decide to close schools and kindergartens if necessary to prepare for the implementation of red level or if the infection situation so indicates.

Digital teaching will be implemented for upper secondary schools, and contingency plans must be made for transition to red level as soon as the infection situation allows.

University, university college and tertiary vocational college premises will be closed to all students. Employees must comply with the rules that otherwise apply to workplaces.

Events
All events outside the home are prohibited, both indoors and outdoors, with the exception of burial and cremation ceremonies.

Digital events where a maximum of five people are present, as well as necessary production personnel, are permitted.

Sports and recreational activities
Organised sports activities for adults or children are not permitted. The same applies to recreational activities for adults such as organised choir, brass band and drama rehearsals.

Workplaces
Everyone who can work from home must do so. Employers must ensure that employees work from home as far as practically possible. Employers must be able to document that the employees have received information about how this is to be done in the enterprise.

Shops

All shops and department stores must remain shut, with the following exceptions:

  • Grocery shops, including kiosks, health food shops and other shops that mainly sell food
  • Outlets that mainly sell animal feed and other necessary items for pets and livestock
  • Pharmacies
  • Surgical stores
  • Opticians
  • Vinmonopolet shops
  • Petrol stations
  • Sales activities in connection with agriculture and animal production
  • Warehouse and wholesale sections of shops that sell goods to tradespeople etc.

Shops and department stores may stay open for collection of ordered and pre-paid goods if this can be done in a way that ensures good infection control.

Restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels
Bars, restaurants etc. must be closed, but takeaways are allowed.

No serving of alcohol.

Hotel restaurants can serve food to guests staying at the hotel.

The following places and enterprises must remain shut

  • Fitness centres
  • Places of worship and similar venues, except in connection with burial and cremation ceremonies
  • Libraries
  • Amusement parks, bingo halls, gaming arcades, playrooms, bowling alleys and similar entertainment and recreational activity venues
  • Swimming pools, water parks, spas, hotel swimming pools etc.
  • Museums
  • Cinemas, theatres, concert venues and similar cultural and entertainment venues
  • Other public venues and businesses that organise cultural, entertainment or recreational activities that gather people indoors

Recommendations
No one should have visitors or get-togethers at home.

The exception to this recommendation is necessary home services and visits to people in the final phase of life.

People who live alone can form a bubble with one or two friends or one specific household that they can visit or receive visits from.

Children who attend kindergartens and primary schools can receive visits from other children in their cohort.

No one should travel unless necessary.

There is no recommendation to avoid travelling to your cabin outside the municipality you live in. However, you should only travel with other members of your household and not receive visitors. Buy everything you need in your own municipality before you leave. Do not go to shops, bars and restaurants or other places with many people in the municipality where your cabin is located.

Keep your distance to others on ski trails, ski lifts and on walks. Check which advice and rules apply in the municipality where your cabin is located and comply with them.

Ski centres may stay open. They should ensure that people can keep a distance of one metre from others in all situations. Crowding must be avoided in areas where this frequently occurs, such as queues for the ski lift, entrances, reception areas, toilets and restaurants, cafés and bars.

It must be possible to maintain proper hand hygiene, and proper and frequent cleaning is required. To help in the health authorities’ infection tracing efforts, ski centres where this is possible can establish systems for registering guests.

Lounges, cafés etc. at the centre cannot serve food indoors, but can sell food through a hatch or similar provided that the food is eaten outdoors.

The municipalities and county authorities should implement stricter public transport measures, which could for example entail only using up to 50 per cent of the capacity on the means of transport.

One-to-one businesses, such as hairdressers, should implement stricter measures such as requiring face masks to be worn in situations where it is not possible to keep a distance of one metre or reducing or temporarily suspending services that entail close face-to-face contact.

It is recommended that the municipalities and the inhabitants of the municipalities concerned consider testing on day 7-10 of the infection quarantine period. Consideration should be given to whether household members of close contacts should also quarantine if infection with the mutated variant of the virus is suspected.

People who have a high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying if they are infected, should now shield more.

Duty to wear a face mask
A face mask must be worn when it is not possible to keep a distance of at least one metre from people other than members of your household, except when quickly passing people.

A face mask must be worn in public areas, such as shops, on public transport and indoor station areas, in restaurants when picking up a takeaway, in common areas in shopping centres if they are open because pharmacies and grocery shops are located there, and at places of worship and similar venues in connection with burial and cremation ceremonies.

The duty to wear a face mask applies correspondingly to employees in places where it is not possible to keep a distance of at least one metre from visitors. This does not apply to employees in places where other infection control measures have been implemented for them such as the use of visors, partitions etc.

Passengers must wear a face mask in taxis. Face masks must be put on before the passenger enters the taxi, and must not be taken off until the journey has ended and the passenger has left the taxi. The duty to wear a face mask applies correspondingly to the driver when there are passengers in the taxi.

The duty to wear a face mask does not apply to children under the age of 12, or to those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical or other reasons.

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All municipalities may implement strict recommendations and rules based on the local infection situation. It is therefore important to stay informed about the rules that apply in your municipality.

This applies to the following municipalities: Alver, Askøy, Bjørnafjorden, Eidfjord, Osterøy, Samnanger, Ullensvang, Vaksdal, Voss and Øygarden.

Kindergartens, schools, universities, university colleges and tertiary vocational colleges
Yellow level in kindergartens, primary and lower secondary schools in line with the national traffic light model.

Red level in upper secondary schools in line with the national traffic light model.

Universities, university colleges and tertiary vocational colleges: All teaching activities and planned events must be postponed or take place digitally.

University, university college and tertiary vocational college premises will be closed to all students. Employees must comply with the rules that otherwise apply to workplaces.

Events
The national rules and recommendations apply.

Sports and recreational activities
Organised sports activities for adults are not permitted. By adults is meant persons aged 20 years or older. The same applies to recreational activities for adults such as organised choir, brass band and drama rehearsals.

Workplaces
Everyone who can work from home must do so. Employers must ensure that employees work from home as far as practically possible. Employers must be able to document that the employees have received information about how this is to be done in the enterprise.

Shops
Shopping centres and department stores must remain shut, with the following exceptions:

  • Grocery shops, including kiosks, health food shops and other shops that mainly sell food
  • Outlets that mainly sell animal feed and other necessary items for pets and livestock
  • Pharmacies
  • Surgical stores
  • Opticians
  • Vinmonopolet shops
  • Bars, restaurants etc.
  • Businesses such as hairdressers, skin care salons, tattoo parlours etc.
  • Health-related businesses such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, chiropodists etc.
  • Petrol stations
  • Sales activities in connection with agriculture and animal production
  • Warehouse and wholesale sections of shops that sell goods to tradespeople etc.

Shops and department stores may stay open for collection of ordered and pre-paid goods if this can be done in a way that ensures good infection control.

Restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels
Restaurants, cafés and bars can stay open.

No serving of alcohol.

The following places and enterprises must remain shut

  • Fitness centres
  • Amusement parks, bingo halls, gaming arcades, playrooms, bowling alleys and similar entertainment and recreational activity venues
  • Museums
  • Cinemas, theatres, concert venues and similar cultural and entertainment venues
  • Other public venues and enterprises that organise cultural, entertainment or recreational activities for people indoors, with the exception of venues where children and young people under the age of 20 engage in such activities.
  • Swimming pools, water parks, spas, hotel swimming pools. etc. are to close, but can open for school swimming classes for people under the age of 20, swimming courses and training for primary school children or younger children and for professional athletes. Rehabilitation activities provided by an organiser to individuals or small groups is also permitted. This also applies to other individual treatments that you can book an appointment for where being in a pool forms part of the treatment.

Recommendations
Everyone should limit social contact.

People are encouraged to meet others outdoors, and to have no more than five guests in addition to household members. More guests are permitted if all the guests are from the same household, but everyone must nevertheless be able to keep their distance at all times.

Children who attend kindergartens and primary schools can receive visits from other children in their cohort.

No one should travel unless necessary.

There is no recommendation to avoid travelling to your cabin outside the municipality you live in. However, you should only travel with other members of your household and not receive visitors. Buy everything you need in your own municipality before you leave. Do not go to shops, bars and restaurants or other places with many people in the municipality where your cabin is located. Keep your distance to others on ski trails, ski lifts and on walks. Check which advice and rules apply in the municipality where your cabin is located and comply with them.

Ski centres may stay open. They should ensure that people can keep a distance of one metre from others in all situations. Crowding must be avoided in areas where this frequently occurs, such as queues for the ski lift, entrances, reception areas, toilets and restaurants, cafés and bars.

It must be possible to maintain proper hand hygiene, and proper and frequent cleaning is required. To help in the health authorities’ infection tracing efforts, ski centres where this is possible can establish systems for registering guests. Lounges, cafés etc. at the centre cannot serve food indoors, but can sell food through a hatch or similar provided that the food is eaten outdoors.

The municipalities and county authorities should implement stricter public transport measures, which could for example entail only using up to 50 per cent of the capacity on the means of transport.

One-to-one businesses, such as hairdressers, should implement stricter measures such as requiring face masks to be worn in situations where it is not possible to keep a distance of one metre or reducing or temporarily suspending services that entail close face-to-face contact.

It is recommended that the municipalities and the inhabitants of the municipalities concerned consider testing on day 7-10 of the infection quarantine period. Consideration should be given to whether household members of close contacts should also quarantine if infection with the mutated variant of the virus is suspected.

People who have a high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying if they are infected, should now shield more.

Duty to wear a face mask
A face mask must be worn when it is not possible to keep a distance of at least one metre from people other than members of your household, except when quickly passing people.

A face mask must be worn in public areas, such as shops, on public transport and indoor station areas, in restaurants when picking up a takeaway, in common areas in shopping centres if they are open because pharmacies and grocery shops are located there, and at places of worship and similar venues in connection with burial and cremation ceremonies.

The duty to wear a face mask applies correspondingly to employees in places where it is not possible to keep a distance of at least one metre from visitors. This does not apply to employees in places where other infection control measures have been implemented for them such as the use of visors, partitions etc.

Passengers must wear a face mask in taxis. Face masks must be put on before the passenger enters the taxi, and must not be taken off until the journey has ended and the passenger has left the taxi. The duty to wear a face mask applies correspondingly to the driver when there are passengers in the taxi.

The duty to wear a face mask does not apply to children under the age of 12, or to those who are unable to wear a face mask for medical or other reasons.

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All municipalities may implement strict recommendations and rules based on the local infection situation. It is therefore important to stay informed about the rules that apply in your municipality.

Is there a ban on serving alcohol?
Yes, there is a ban on serving alcohol in both ring 1 and ring 2 municipalities.

Must fitness centres close?
Yes, fitness centres must close in both ring 1 and ring 2 municipalities.

Must cinemas, theatres and concert venues close?
Yes, such places must close in both ring 1 and ring 2 municipalities.

I plan to organise an event shortly. Can I move the event to another municipality that is not subject to the strict measures?  
If the event’s target group is the local population in the municipality in question, moving the event will lead to people moving as well. 

We therefore strongly discourage moving events to another municipality. That would cause more people to travel out of the area, making it easier for the infection to spread. 

I live in one of the affected municipalities and am expecting a visit from a family from outside the municipality. Can they still visit me? 
If you live in a ring 1 municipality, the recommendation is that everyone should avoid visits at home, and you should not visit people in other municipalities either. The exception to this recommendation is necessary home services and visits to people in the final phase of life.

People who live alone can form a bubble with one or two friends or one specific household that they can visit or receive visits from. Children who attend kindergartens and primary schools can receive visits from other children in their cohort. In addition, no one should travel unless strictly necessary. 

If you live in a ring 2 municipality, the national recommendation is to limit social contact, preferably meet others outdoors, and to have no more than five guests in addition to household members. Children who attend kindergartens and primary schools can receive visits from other children in their cohort.

What does it mean to avoid travel unless strictly necessary?
Travel to work must be deemed strictly necessary, but everyone who can work from home must do so as far as practically possible.

Can children whose parents have shared custody and right of access still travel between their parents’ homes?
You can stay in both homes, which has been the case throughout the pandemic. That is still the main rule.

Can pet shops stay open?
Yes, outlets that sell animal feed and other necessary items for pets and livestock can stay open.

Can shops that sell some food and groceries stay open?  
The definition of grocery shop also includes kiosks, health food shops and other shops that mainly sell food. If a shop mainly focuses on food, it can stay open. 

Are shops permitted to have their employees come to work to do other tasks even if the shop is closed to the public? 
Yes, the shop is considered to be closed when it is not open to the public. The employees can still work in the shop and carry out other tasks, such as manage stocks, do odd jobs and manage the collection of ordered and pre-paid goods.

Everyone who can work from home must do so. Employers must ensure that employees work from home as far as practically possible. Employers must be able to document that the employees have received information about how this is to be done in the enterprise.  

Can hairdressers and other service providers stay open, or are they included in the group of ‘shops’ that must close?
Hairdressers, skin care salons, tattoo parlours etc. are not shops and can stay open, but enhanced infection control measures are recommended, such as the use of face masks. Health-related businesses such as physiotherapists, opticians and psychologist can also stay open.

What is the rule for shops with ‘click and collect’ services?
Shops may stay open for collection of ordered and pre-paid goods if this can be done in a way that ensures good infection control.

Can meetings that have already been agreed with individual customers regarding e.g. deliveries of purchased cars, still take place?
Yes, shops may stay open for collection of ordered and pre-paid goods if solutions that ensure satisfactory infection control have been implemented. This also applies to car dealerships.

Must the courts in these municipalities close? 
No, the courts are not included in the group of establishments that must close. 

Can alpine centres stay open?
Yes, they are not included in the group of establishments and places that must close. The reason for this is that the risk of transmission is low, provided that the centre complies with the applicable infection control guidelines prepared for the industry. The ski centre should ensure that people can keep distance of one metre in all situations.

Crowding must be avoided in areas where this frequently occurs, such as queues for the ski lift, entrances, reception areas, toilets, restaurants, cafés and bars etc. It must be possible to maintain proper hand hygiene as needed and proper and frequent cleaning is required, particularly of frequently touched surfaces.

Are digital concerts, shows, religious services or similar that are streamed or broadcast on TV permitted? 
The purpose of prohibiting events is to prevent physical meetings between people. A concert or religious service with no audience present does not fall within the definition of event in Section 13 of the COVID-19 Regulations, which states that people must be gathered in order for it to be considered an event. As regards infection control, there is little to gain from prohibiting digital concerts, religious services or shows.

However, the recommendation to limit the number of social contacts applies, and this must be considered when holding a concert, religious service or show.

In ring 1 municipalities, digital events where a maximum of five people are present, as well as necessary production personnel, are permitted. The national rules apply to ring 2 municipalities.

Can garages stay open?
Yes, they are not included in the group of establishments that must close.

Can builders' merchants’ wholesale sections and sections that sell goods to tradespeople etc. remain open, so that goods can be delivered to and collected by enterprises/tradespeople?
The warehouse and wholesale sections of builders' merchants that sell goods to tradespeople etc. are not included in the group of establishments that must close and may remain open.