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Ministry of Health, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

COVID-19: Further easing of local restrictions in Iceland

Svandís Svavarsdóttir Minister of Health - mynd

General restrictions on numbers will be 2,000 persons, the mask requirement will be lifted, the opening hours of restaurants will be extended by one hour and the registration obligation for guests will be lifted while 1-metre distance rule will continue to apply. These are the main amendments to the regulation on social gatherings that have entered into force by decision of the Minister of Health. The aim is to abolish all restrictions on social gatherings due to COVID-19 in Iceland as of November 18.

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Health, presented the intended changes in a government meeting yesterday morning. They are based on a memorandum from the Chief Epidemiologist to the Minister of Health where three options for easing of social restrictions are presented, i.e. a full lifting, partial lifting, or no lifting of restrictions.

Changes as of October 20

  • The general restriction on numbers is now 2,000 persons instead of the previous 500.
  • The distance rule of 1 metre remains unchanged, with the same exemptions as before, e.g. for sit-down events and services requiring close proximity.
  • The restriction on numbers and the rule of distance can be bypassed by using rapid antigen tests.
  • The mask requirements are lifted, with the exception of special rules applying to health care institutions.
  • The registration obligation for events and restaurants is lifted.
  • The opening hours of restaurants that have an alcohol licence is extended by one hour, to 1 a.m. All venues must be vacated by 2 a.m.

Full lifting is planned for November 18

The aim is to lift all restrictions on social gatherings as of November 18, unless the epidemic takes a considerable turn for the worse, such as due to an increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 that is so extensive that the health care system cannot handle it. Testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine will continue, but will be reviewed in cooperation with the Chief Epidemiologist.


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