Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has agreed to the Chief Epidemiologist’s suggestion for increased infection prevention restrictions which will go into effect Saturday, October 31 in all regions of the country. The biggest change is that no more than 10 people will be allowed to gather instead of 20 before. All official sports activities will be suspended as well as all art performances. The restrictions will be in place until November 17. They will be continually reevaluated to see if they can be eased before the time is up or if they will have to be extended.
The Chief Epidemiologist had already stated that he would likely suggest tightened restrictions due to the National Hospital’s state of emergency following a group infection spreading within its facilities. His memo states that community-spread infections are still high, despite tightened restrictions since October 20. Therefore, there’s a risk of group infections which will put an even greater strain on the healthcare system. The National Hospital is already in a state of emergency due to the strain and some healthcare treatments have been postponed until November 15. The five quarantine facilities in operations are under strain as well and people with active cases of the virus are more ill than previously in the pandemic.
Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir says the restrictions will be burdensome for society but unfortunately, they’re the necessary steps to curb the spread of the pandemic. She adds that the rules are simple, even if they’re difficult: “The better we follow them, the shorter we need to live with them.”
In a press briefing, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated that he agreed with the regulations, and that they were almost exactly what he suggested. Only one change was made, that 30 people would be allowed to attend funerals instead of Þórólfur’s suggestion of 20. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir was asked about curfews but stated that she didn’t believe it would be more effective than the restrictions introduced today.
- The restrictions will take effect in all regions of the country.
- No more than 10 people are allowed to gather in one place.
- 30 people can gather for funerals but only 10 people are allowed at the funeral reception.
- A maximum of 50 people can enter pharmacies and grocery stores.
- These restrictions do not apply to the government, Parliament or the courts.
- If more than 10 people live in the same home, the gathering ban does not apply in the home.
- Sports activities are not allowed.
- Art Performances are not allowed.
- Swimming pools are closed
- Bars and clubs are closed.
- Restaurants with liquor licences will not stay open after 9 PM.
- If a distance of 2 m (6 feet) cannot be kept between people, masks are required.
- Children born in 2015 or later are exempt from the 2 m (6 feet) rule, gathering bans and mask requirements (formerly, this applied to children born in 2005 or later).
- The minister grants exemptions to the restrictions to socially essential infrastructures that can’t be interrupted. This applies to the healthcare system and social services.
- The minister can grant exemptions to the ban on sports activities for unique events such as international tournaments.
A new regulation on school limitations will be introduced next week.