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Ministry of Health

COVID-19: Relaxations of disease prevention measures as from 28th of August

The restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to gather in one location will in principle continue to be 200 and the rules requiring social distancing of at least one metre and mask wearing are unchanged.  However, public swimming pools and health and fitness facilities are permitted to run at maximum capacity subject to the conditions of their operating licenses. The requirement of maintaining a distance of at least one metre is abolished at sports events and stage art events in addition to further relaxations detailed below. The Minister of Health presented these changes at a government meeting this morning and they are in keeping with the Chief Epidemiologist’s recommendations. A corresponding regulation takes effect on the 28th of August and is applicable until the 17th of September.

In the Chief Epidemiologist’s memorandum it is e.g. stated that since the entry into force of the currently applicable regulation on the 25th of June the pandemic has been slowly declining in Iceland. It has also come to light that the risk of infection among non-vaccinated people is double in comparison to those who are vaccinated and the risk of hospitalization is four times higher and they are six times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit. Therefore it can be asserted that widespread vaccination in Iceland has prevented infections and in particular prevented serious consequences of COVID-19. The Chief Epidemiologist notes that the spread of the virus following the removal of all domestic restrictions at the beginning of July has been fast and he therefore emphasised caution in lifting the restrictions domestically and at the borders in the near future. 

Restrictions on social gatherings from 28th of August to 17th of September

  • The restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to gather in one location is still set at 200, social distancing at 1 metre, and the obligation to wear a face mask remains.
  • Public swimming pools are permitted to run at maximum capacity subject to the conditions of their operating licence. 
  • Health and fitness facilities are permitted to run at maximum capacity subject to the conditions of their operating licences.
  • Sports: Participators at sport practices and competitions may be 200.
  • The one metre rule will cease to apply among spectators at sports events and stage art events.
  • Sale of food and beverages is allowed during breaks at sports events and stage art events.
  • Authorisation for 200 people in performing arts, both during practice and at performances.
  • The one metre rule ceases to apply at ceremonies of religious and life stance organisations.
  • Museums are allowed to run at maximum capacity according to the conditions of their operating licence subject to the 1 metre rule.
  • Restaurants are allowed to receive 200 customers in the same space. Guests’ seating order shall be recorded pursuant to the provisions of the regulation.
  • Registration obligation: At all events it will be obligatory to register the seating order of the guests, such as at restaurants, in accordance with the provisions of the regulation. The registration obligation also applies to private events hosted at restaurants or similar places where it is permitted to serve alcohol.

Rapid tests and large events - entry into force on the 3rd of September 

The Chief Epidemiologist proposes the use of rapid tests in relation to large events but does not recommend the use of self-testing as they are not accurate enough.  Work on the adoption of the proposals will be carried out in the coming days in order to make it possible to accommodate 500 sitting guests in a compartment during an event with no social distancing limits subject to the use of rapid tests. These arrangements will be carried out in close cooperation with those hosting large events.  The provisions of the new regulation about restrictions on gatherings relating to the use of rapid tests at events take effect on the 3rd of September and will then be presented specifically.

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