Iceland is set to enter its second stage of loosening COVID-19 restrictions on May 25, three weeks after the first stage began on May 4. Despite widespread coronavirus testing, no new cases have been confirmed in the country for the past three days. Over 97% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iceland have fully recovered.
May 25: Gyms Open, Larger Gatherings Permitted
Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason announced in authorities’ daily COVID-19 briefing that COVID-19 restrictions would be further loosened on May 25, slightly earlier than had been previously suggested. As of May 25, gyms will be permitted to reopen and the ban on gatherings of over 50 people will be loosened further. Gatherings of groups larger than 50 people will be permitted, though authorities have yet to decide on a specific number of individuals. Þórólfur stated, however, that the number would likely be 100 or more. Swimming pools are set to reopen on May 18, one week earlier.
Þórólfur added that he hoped the public would be understanding about the need to lift restrictions in stages over a long period. He underlined the importance of maintaining individual preventative measures such as hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, being aware of where your hands are, and the 2-metre distancing rule.
Chief Epidemiologist Clarifies Two-Metre Rule
Earlier this week, Þórólfur told reporters that he believed the two-metre social distancing rule should apply at least until the end of the year. Musicians and others whose work depends on public gatherings expressed disappointment and concern at the news. Þórólfur has since clarified his statement to explain that the two-metre distancing rule is a request rather than a command and that concerts would be permitted from May 25 onward. At such public events, stated Þórólfur, “it will certainly not be possible to maintain the two-metre rule at all times, but there may be a requirement [for event organisers] that individuals can have the rule fulfilled, especially vulnerable groups.”