Three foreign tourists were arrested in a downtown Reykjavík restaurant on Saturday for violating quarantine protocols after their arrival in Iceland, Vísir reports. Each of them were fined ISK 250,000 [$1,797; €1,545] and they were sent home on Sunday.
Authorities immediately suspected that the trio did not intend to abide by quarantine regulations when they arrived in Iceland on Thursday, although they have declined to explain what raised their suspicions. As such, the travellers were specifically reminded of the regulations at the airport and, just to be sure, members of the contact tracing team visited the residence where they were staying in town that evening to remind them of the rules. Another visit was made to the tourists’ residence on Saturday night, but none of them were there. Instead, police found them in a restaurant around 10pm.
The trio were not the only visitors found to be breaking quarantine on Saturday. Earlier that evening, another foreign traveller was arrested after he tried to pick a fight on Laugarvegur in downtown Reykjavík. The man had just arrived in Iceland and was also supposed to be in quarantine. He was arrested and will likely be fined as well, although his case has not yet been settled.
In a Facebook post accompanied by a picture of three officers wearing masks and protective jumpsuits, capital-area police urged people to take quarantine regulations seriously. “Breaking quarantine is a grave matter. Such irresponsible behaviour can endanger the lives and safety of others!” read the post. “Respect quarantine—it’s a matter of life and death!”
Chief Superintendent Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson also explained how time-consuming it is for officers to go on call-outs related to quarantine violations. Two teams had to be reassigned from their normal duties and dress from head to toe in protective gear in order to find and collect just a few rule-breakers.
Ásgeir Þór waved off the idea that a language barrier could have played a part in the tourists’ misbehaviour, saying that authorities make certain that people understand the terms of quarantine and “how they need to behave” upon their arrival to the country. “Whatever they say—this was intentional.”