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Corona pandemic and transport

The gradual reopening of Norway will affect the transport sector.

Mitigation measures implemented in Norway from 12 March 2020 had considerable impact on the transport sector. The Ministry of Transport and related agencies have done our utmost to protect key public functions by ensuring safe and satisfactory passenger and goods transport services during this special time.

Public transport services have remained operational with minimal interruption. The same applies to aviation, where a minimum of domestic flights have been maintained. Great effort has gone into ensuring that goods transport could proceed as normal, both across the country and across our national borders.

On Thursday 07 May 2020, the Government announced a gradual reopening of Norway. Kindergartens and schools (limited to grades 1–4) had already reopened, in late April. As a result of this gradual reopening, traffic in all forms of transport services will eventually increase.

Please note, however, that health authorities still urge you to avoid all unnecessary travel, and to avoid using public transport if you can.

National guidelines for infection control have been prepared for the transport sector and travellers. Read more here: AviationPublic transport (Norwegian only as of today)

Information for the transport sector and travellers

 

Goods transport

All goods transport, imports and exports continue as normal by road, rail, sea and air. Airports, ports and border crossings will remain open for this type of transport.

See also this press release: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/goods_traffic/id2693654/

Exemptions from rules concerning entry and rejection of foreign nationals

There are a number of exemptions relevant for the transport industry from the rules concerning rejection of entry for foreign nationals at the border. These exemptions apply to individuals who perform a critical public function. This includes, among others, persons performing professional goods transport functions, holders of valid aviation personnel licences en route to or from active service who have valid identification.

Read more about which foreign nationals will be allowed to enter Norway in this article: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/immigration-and-integration/innsikt/questions--answers-on-new-rules-barring-entry-to-norway/id2693775/

National Public Roads Administration services

Read more about the most important changes here (in Norwegian): https://www.vegvesen.no/om+statens+vegvesen/om+organisasjonen/koronautbruddet/

Driving schools have been closed, and it has not been possible to take the practical driving test. These services are now open again. Read more here (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/na-blir-kjoreopplaring-og-forerprover-for-personbil-igjen-tillatt/id2701525/

Taxi industry

Taxi licences include an operational requirement that stipulates that taxis must be available 24 hours a day every day. County authorities have now been authorized to exempt taxi operators from this operational requirement. Hospital trusts have also been given dispensation from the licence requirement, which means they are allowed to transport patients themselves. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is continuously considering potential measures for the taxi industry.

Seagoing traffic

Norwegian ports are not closed. Ships are allowed to dock, and cargo traffic continues as normal. The measures implemented so far are primarily directed at passenger transport, and may entail restrictions in the movement of crew members. The Norwegian Coastal Administration has answered questions related to this topic here: https://www.kystverket.no/en/News/the-coronavirus-and-seagoing-traffic/

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten has suspended most voyages until 20 May 2020. Two ships will sail an amended domestic schedule between Bodø and Kirkenes until this date, calling on a limited number of ports. Please see Hurtigruten’s website for more information: https://www.hurtigruten.no/

Aviation

This is a challenging time for the aviation industry, both domestically and internationally, as the majority of passengers have disappeared due to the corona virus outbreak.

The Government has presented a crisis package to mitigate the situation. Read more about the crisis package in this article (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/omfattende-tiltakspakke-for-norsk-luftfart-6-milliarder-i-lanegaranti/id2694265/

Minimum number of domestic flights available: Since 25 March 2020, the Norwegian government has bought flights from Norwegian, SAS and Widerøe, to ensure that a minimum number of flights are maintained.

Airports closed: Avinor closed nine airports for all commercial flights as of Wednesday 18 March 2020: Vardø, Berlevåg, Sørkjosen, Stokmarknes, Svolvær, Mo i Rana, Mosjøen, Førde and Sandane Airports. Avinor has now decided to reopen these airports from 01 June 2020.

More information about corona and air travel can be found in this article by Avinor: https://avinor.no/en/information-in-connection-with-the-coronavirus-covid-19/

If you have questions about a specific flight, please contact your airline.

National guidelines for infection control and prevention in aviation have been developed. Read more about these guidelines here (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/korona-veileder-for-luftfarten-er-klar/id2700198/

Are you abroad and want to return home to Norway?

Read more about travel and Norwegians abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/foreign-affairs/reiseinformasjon/travel_coronavirus/id2691821/

Rail and public transport

Public transport services have remained operational to some degree throughout the corona virus outbreak to ensure that people in critical public functions are able to get to and from work. However, services have been reduced in many places due to a significant reduction in the number of passengers. With the gradual reopening of the country, it is likely that more people will return to using public transport, even though health authorities still recommend that people avoid using public transport if possible.

When the number of passengers increase, services will also increase. National guidelines for infection control and prevention in public transport have been developed to help ensure that travel by public transport remains safe for those who have no other choice: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/korona-veileder-for-kollektivtransporten/id2701152/ (in Norwegian)

For more information about rail transport measures and services, see Bane NOR’s information page: https://www.banenor.no/en/startpage1/News/status-for-bane-nor-and-the-corona-situation/

See also rail transport operators for information about how the corona outbreak is affecting rail transport services and the measures that have been implemented to stop the spread of the virus:

Vy: https://www.vy.no/en/news/coronavirus

Go Ahead: https://go-aheadnordic.com/no/presse/ (in Norwegian)

Airport Express: https://flytoget.no/en/news-and-press/nyhetsarkiv/coronavirus--how-are-we-dealing-with-it/

SJ: https://www.sj.se/sv/om/om-sj/senaste-info-coronavirus-o-tagresor.html (in Swedish)

For more information about public transport, please see the website of your local public transport operator, such as Ruter, Skyss, AtB, Kolumbus, Fram, Brakar and others.

Transport infrastructure operation and maintenance

In order to ensure a certain level of economic activity, Parliament has granted NOK 900 million for the operation of and maintenance on road, rail and coastal infrastructure. NOK 600 million have been reserved for road measures, and you can read more about the financial and regional distribution here (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/600-millioner-ekstra-til-drift-og-vedlikehold-av-veier-over-hele-landet/id2697313/

The Ministry of Transport will return with more information on the distribution of funding for railways (NOK 200 million) and coastal infrastructure (NOK 100 million).  

Overview of nationwide measures

Norwegian authorities have implemented a number of measures to manage the corona outbreak. These include both measures to reduce the spread of infection and measures to counteract the negative consequences of these mitigating measures. Below is a link to an overview of nationwide measures, including measures affecting the transport sector. The overview is continually updated: (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/koronavirus/nasjonale-tiltak/id2693684/

The Government’s corona virus summary page

https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/koronavirus-covid-19/id2692388/

 

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