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Ministry of Health

COVID-19: Relaxation of restrictions on gatherings take effect on 18 November

Svandís Svavarsdóttir Minister of Health - myndGovernment of Iceland

The Minister of Health has approved recommendations by the Chief Epidemiologist for a cautious relaxation of some of the restrictions on gatherings in response to the spread of COVID-19. The changes involved will take effect on 18 November 2020. The main changes are that sporting, youth and leisure activities for children in pre-schools (kindergartens) and compulsory junior schools (to age 16) will be permitted once again. In upper-secondary schools, the number of persons permitted to gather in one space will be raised to 25. Services of various types which entail physical contact or close proximity will be permitted again. The general limit on the size of gatherings to 10 persons will continue. It is envisaged that further relaxation of the restrictions will be possible at the beginning of December.

In his memorandum to the minister, the Chief Epidemiologist proposed that gradual relaxations be made in the coming weeks. Those that take effect on Wednesday, 18 November, are as follows:

  • Activities and services that entail physical contact between people will be permitted, with the condition that they use face masks. This applies, for example, to hairdressers, massage parlours, driving and flying instructors and others offering comparable services. A maximum of 10 customers at a time will be apply in the premises of these establishments.
  • Rehearsals, sporting activities and youth and leisure activities for children of kindergarten and junior school age (to age 16) will be permitted, both indoors and out of doors. To make it possible for such activities to take place, there will be no restrictions regarding the mixing of groups. Maximum numbers of persons in each space shall be according to the regulation on number restrictions in schools. Up to 50 children of kindergarten age and in the first four grades of junior school may occupy the same space; for those in Grades 5-10, the maximum will be 25.
  • In the upper-secondary schools, a maximum of 25 pupils and staff may occupy each space instead of the 10 permitted previously; however, face masks must be used and the 2-metre social distance rule must be observed.
  • Exemptions from face-mask requirements are permitted in the case of persons who are unable to use them, for example due to health reasons or because they lack the maturity or understanding required to wear masks. Persons who have had COVID-19 are also exempt from the face-mask requirement if they are able to demonstrate this by means of a valid medical certificate.

The changes to the regulations laying down restrictions on gatherings and school activities due to the pandemic take effect on 18 November 2020. The regulations will remain in force until, and including 1 December.

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