Dentists, Hairdressers Reopen in Iceland as COVID-19 Restrictions Are Loosened Skip to content

Dentists, Hairdressers Reopen in Iceland as COVID-19 Restrictions Are Loosened

By Yelena

barber shop hair salon
Photo: Golli.

Many businesses reopen in Iceland today as the country enters its first stage of loosening COVID-19 restrictions. Gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted, up from the previous 20, and certain businesses where contact is necessary are permitted to reopen, namely dentist’s offices, physiotherapy clinics, hairdressers, and massage parlours. Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason emphasised that despite the relaxed regulations, the two-metre social distancing rule remains in effect.

Active cases decreasing since April 5

Iceland reached a peak of infection on April 5, with 1,096 active cases on that day. That number has been steadily dropping since, and stands at 66 as of the time of writing. In the past six days, only four new cases have been confirmed. Extensive testing, thorough contact tracing, and strict quarantine measures have been key to flattening the curve in Iceland – an impressive 57% of all positive cases were already in quarantine at the time of diagnosis. Reykjavík based deCODE genetics’ testing of those without symptoms has also been helpful in determining the spread of the virus among the general population.

Schools return to regular programming

Dentist’s offices, physiotherapy clinics, hairdressers, and massage parlours may reopen today in Iceland, as may libraries and museums. Upper secondary schools and universities, which had moved to online instruction at the end of March, will now reopen, though class sizes are limited to 50 students. Primary schools and preschools resume full programming as of this week (most only offered part-time programming due to group size limits), with children exempt from the two-metre distancing rule. There have been few cases of children contracting COVID-19 in Iceland and no documented cases of transmission from children to adults.

Swimming pools, bars remain closed

Certain businesses and public gathering places must still remain closed: namely bars, slot machines, gyms, and swimming pools. Þórólfur stated in an information meeting today, however, that swimming pools may reopen as soon as May 18, provided infection rates remain low.

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