Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson has decided to exempt restaurants from new infection prevention gathering limits on December 23. Restaurants can accept 50 guests in each compartment instead of 20 as stipulated in the new regulations. Musicians hosting Christmas concerts have also been allowed to host events according to requirements from the previous and milder infection prevention regulation.
Aside from the gathering limits, restaurants must uphold, including closing at 9 pm. The exception is made to ensure proportionality in light of the short notice given until the new regulations took effect. Restaurants are encouraged to continue to keep up the utmost infection prevention measures, including providing access to hand sanitisers, making sure mask requirements are upheld, and keeping up the 1-metre social distance between unrelated parties.
December 23 is known as Þorláksmessa and is a popular day for fermented skate parties at home or in restaurants, people-watching, and last-minute shopping in downtown Reykjavík.
Musicians such as Bubbi Morthens and Emmsjé Gauti have also been granted exemptions to host their Christmas Concerts based on the previous infection prevention regulation requirements. Five hundred people are allowed in each compartment, provided they can present a negative antigen test performed by a healthcare professional no less than 48 hours previous.
In a conversation with Fréttablaðið reporter, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has called the exemptions “maybe not the wisest course of action from an epidemiological standpoint.”