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Ministry of Health

COVID-19: Changes to the rules on gathering sizes and schools

Svandís Svavarsdóttir Minister of Health and Katrín Jakobsdóttir Prime Minister - mynd

New regulations setting out stricter measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 have been approved by the Minister of Health and took effect at midnight on 4 October 2020. With certain exceptions, the size of gatherings is now restricted to 20 persons. Here follows a summary of the main changes. 

Gatherings are restricted to 20 persons. Fitness centres, bars, night-clubs and gaming establishments are closed. The number of guests in swimming pools may not exceed 50% of the maximum permitted in their operating licences. The social distance requirement remains 1 metre; where it is not possible to maintain this, the use of face-masks is obligatory.

Exemptions from the 20-person maximum

Exemptions from the maximum of 20 persons at a gathering are as follows. Here, as elsewhere, the use of face-masks is obligatory where it is not possible to meet the social distance requirement of 1 metre.

  • The functioning of the Althingi (parliament) is exempt from the restriction on numbers.
  • Courts of justice are not subject to the restriction when exercising their judicial functions.
  • Response teams, such as the police, fire brigades, search and rescue teams and health service workers, are not subject to number restrictions when engaged in their work.
  • The maximum permitted number attending funerals is 50 persons.
  • Shops with premises smaller than 1,000 m2 may admit up to 100 persons into the same space at any one time and one additional customer for every additional 10 m2 of floor space over 1,000 m2, though never more than 200 people in total.
  • Performing arts: Events may be held where the audience is divided into groups of up to 100 persons together in separate areas. Seats are to be numbered, the names of those sitting in them must be recorded and all members of the audience are obliged to wear face-masks.
  • The maximum size of classes in upper secondary schools and universities is 30 persons.

Competitive sports involving physical contact are permitted, with a maximum of 50 participants, subject to certain conditions.

Spectators at sporting events: Spectators are not permitted at indoor sporting events. Spectators may attend outdoor sporting events, divided into groups of up to 100 sitting in separate areas. Seats shall be numbered, the names of those sitting in them must be recorded and all spectators are required to wear face-masks.

Pre-schools and junior schools: No number restrictions apply to children born in 2005 or later. For those born prior to 2005, the maximum of 30 persons applies to each class, with a social distance of 1 metre; face-masks shall be worn if it is not possible to observe the social distance rule.


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