Groups of 200 may gather together and gyms and bars may reopen today in Iceland as the second stage of lifting COVID-19 restrictions takes effect. The state of emergency declared on February 28 has been lifted. The two-metre social distancing rule, in effect since March 13, will also be somewhat relaxed in public spaces. Only six people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iceland since May 1, even as widespread testing continues.
Gathering ban loosened
Icelandic authorities instituted their first gathering ban due to COVID-19 on March 16, limiting gatherings to 100 people or less. At its most strict, the ban was tightened to groups over 20. As of today, groups of up to 200 may gather together.
Gyms and bars may reopen today as well, though they may only admit guests up to half the capacity stated on their operating licence. The same applies to swimming pools, which reopened one week ago to the delight of locals. Bars and clubs may not be open later than 11.00pm.
New definition of two-metre rule
Since March 13, Icelandic authorities have encouraged two-metre social distancing whenever possible, and that encouragement still stands. As of May 25, however, people may sit or stand close together, but venues must make it possible for patrons to maintain a two-metre distance from others if they so desire. Theatres and movie theatres must, therefore, offer “at least a few seats” that allow for this distance to be maintained, according to a memorandum from the Chief Epidemiologist. This also applies to public spaces such as shops, restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, health clinics, workplaces, public buses, and schools, all of which must endeavour to maintain the two-metre rule “when possible.”
Currently only three active COVID-19 cases
Since Iceland’s first case on February 28, 1,804 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iceland. Of these, 115 were admitted to hospital, and 30 to intensive care. Eighteen required the assistance of a ventilator and in total ten have died. As of the time of writing, Iceland only has three active cases of COVID-19.