Icelandic Institutions Adapt to Gathering Ban Skip to content

Icelandic Institutions Adapt to Gathering Ban

By Yelena

Iceland gathering ban swimming pool

Iceland’s ban on gatherings of over 100 people took effect at midnight last night. The measure is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. While smaller groups are still permitted to gather, organisers must ensure a minimum distance of two metres (6.6feet) between people. The country’s schools, businesses, and institutions are now adapting their operations to conform to these and other protective measures outlined in the four-week gathering ban.

Restaurants and tour companies

The Icelandic Tourist Board has issued guidelines to restaurants and coach and bus companies regarding the gathering ban. Restaurants must ensure a minimum of two metres between tables or groups, with the exception of families who have been in close contact and may therefore sit at the same table. Restaurant staff must clean menus and tables between customers, provide hand sanitizer at the entrance, and encourage guests to use it when coming and going.

Coaches and buses must have hand sanitizer accessible and encourage passengers to use it when entering. Staff are directed to encourage passengers to enter in a relaxed manner and keep distance between themselves. Passengers are to be spread around the coach or bus while seated, and operators are asked to keep at least every other seat empty if possible.

In order to enforce the gathering ban, larger stores and businesses will set up counting systems at entrances.

Strætó public bus service

Strætó public bus service has asked passengers in the capital area to enter buses via the middle or back door starting from today. Passengers are encouraged to pay via bus cards or the Strætó app and avoid walking to the front of the bus to confirm payment with the bus driver. Bus tickets and cash will continue to be accepted. According to Strætó, these measures are similar to measures taken in other Nordic countries. Strætó asks passengers who suspect they are infected to avoid taking public transit.

Schools and swimming pools

Preschools, elementary schools, after-school programs, swimming pools, and athletic centres are all closed today in order for staff to plan the implementation of the regulations imposed by the new gathering ban. Private lessons in music schools will continue as usual, but group classes and events are suspended during the gathering ban.

Preschools and primary schools are expected to reopen tomorrow, though some are likely to limit services or hours or operation. Universities and junior colleges will remain closed during the gathering ban, though instruction will continue virtually.

Museums and libraries remain open according to regular hours, but events are cancelled. Additional cleaning will be implemented.

The official source of information on COVID-19 in Iceland is www.covid.is/english.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!