Stricter Regulations Take Effect At Border, Relaxed Restrictions At Ski Areas Skip to content

Stricter Regulations Take Effect At Border, Relaxed Restrictions At Ski Areas

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

skiing ski lift Iceland
Photo: Golli.

Stricter infection prevention regulations took effect at the border today, requiring all passengers on their way to Iceland to present a negative result of a PCR-test, no more than three days old, at their point of departure. The measures are intended to preserve the low rates of infection Iceland is currently experiencing. That success means that new regulations for ski areas, also taking effect today, allow more visitors and food sales to restart.

The stricter regulations at the border went into effect at midnight. All arriving passengers are now required to present a negative PCR-test at their point of departure, no more than 72-hours old. In addition, travellers will be tested on arrival and have to go into a five-day quarantine and be tested again. Iceland is the 14th European country to require a negative PCR-test before departure.

The first passengers to arrive after the new regulation took effect came from Boston this morning. RÚV reports that the new regulations increased waiting times at the airport and that reviewing the documents was time-consuming. All passengers were aware that they needed to provide the certificate of a negative PCR-test but about a quarter of passengers on the first plane weren’t able to procure such a certificate in time for their flight. Icelanders who don’t present a negative test result before departure will be allowed to enter the country but can expect a fine. According to the constitution, no Icelandic citizen can be denied entry to Iceland. According to border guards, they won’t start issuing fines until Monday at the earliest.

The new regulations also give authorities the power to require arriving passengers to spend their quarantine at quarantine hotels. This might be applied to people who can’t disclose where they intend to spend their quarantine and those who test positive for variants of the virus that are more infectious than others.

For the past month, only one case of the virus was caught outside of quarantine. As a result, authorities are slowly relaxing restrictions domestically but Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated that in order to do so, we must make sure that new infections don’t cross the border. He has also stated that the new restrictions at the border will provide us with valuable data, such as if adding the requirement for a negative test before departure will eliminate the need for the second test in Iceland and consequently, the five-day quarantine period in between tests.

The new regulations for ski resorts will allow them to operate at 50% capacity. They will also be able to resume selling food and drinks. Children born in 2005 or later are not included in the number of people allowed but a social distance of two metres is still required.

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