With More Icelanders at Home, Chocolate Easter Eggs Sell Out

Icelandic Easter eggs

Icelanders may be sheltering at home, avoiding travel and large family gatherings this Easter, but that hasn’t reduced demand for the country’s beloved chocolate Easter eggs – if anything, it’s only increased it, says Auðjón Guðmundsson, CEO of chocolate company Nói Síríus. Vísir reports that with more Icelanders in the country for the holiday this year, there has been a run on the chocolate egg supply the like of which hasn’t been seen in quite some time.

Indeed, in the lead-up to the holiday, the country’s chocolatiers anticipated that many of their popular páskaegg varieties would sell out this year and encouraged Icelanders to buy their favourite kind early to ensure they weren’t disappointed come Easter Sunday. “We’re working longer and…doing everything we can for Icelanders,” Auðjón told mbl.is last week. “It’s a shame when people don’t get their Easter egg.”

As a matter of fact, Nói Síríus produced more than 800,000 chocolate Easter eggs this year, including several new varieties with different kinds of candy fillings. Even so, several varieties have sold out, leading to the sense that there was a shortage of chocolate eggs this year.

“Neither we nor others were prepared for this situation. It didn’t help that production was a lot more difficult and slower due to the gathering ban,” explained Auðjón. “We tried everything and were pretty pleased with how much we managed to get out in the end. But of course, it’s just wishful thinking that everyone would get their favourite egg – that’s just how it is.”

Easter is usually a popular time for Icelanders to travel outside of the country, something that obviously wasn’t possible this year. Moreover, many Icelanders based abroad have recently returned to the country amidst the COVID-19 crisis. “Without having the exact figures, I would expect that it’s the increased number of Icelanders in the country that played a big part in this,” said Auðjón, referring to the perceived shortage.

The chocolatier also realises what a charmed position he and those in his industry are in right now. It’s difficult to complain about the enormous demand for Easter eggs, he says, at a time when income in so many other industries has evaporated. “We can only be grateful for this. Although, of course, we’d have wanted everyone to get the egg they wanted.”

Advise Against Domestic Travel This Easter: “Don’t Do It”

Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson and Director of the National University Hospital of Iceland Páll Matthíasson have advised against domestic travel this Easter, RÚV reports. The more travellers on the road, the higher the risk of accidents, which could increase the stress on an already strained healthcare system.

Won’t hesitate to take action

During a daily press briefing yesterday, Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson encouraged residents to stay at home during Easter – a popular travel weekend in Iceland – as opposed to spending a long weekend at countryside cottages. Speaking anecdotally, Víðir mentioned that a few of his snowmobiling friends had agreed to stay put this Easter and make do with merely “polishing their vehicles” over the holidays. “We will not, however, hesitate to take action,” Víðir said, revealing that the authorities were considering a ban on cottage trips. Other Nordic countries have taken similar action.

Although the latest figures on COVID-19 are a cause for optimism, Víðir stressed that it was important to avoid complacency. The achievements of the past few days were the result of strict measures. Víðir went on to compare the epidemic to a long-distance race that was half-finished. “The coming days will be a test of our collective endurance.”

Avoiding other major accidents

Páll Matthíasson, Director of the National University Hospital of Iceland, emphasised the importance of shielding the hospital from major accidents, as the healthcare system was already under considerable strain. All available energy was focused on the epidemic. Having heard that many residents were planning trips to the countryside to spend the holidays in cottages, Páll responded: “That’s a bad idea. Don’t do it.”

Vulnerable healthcare areas

As outlined during the press briefing, there are several reasons why the authorities recommend residents stay at home this Easter: if individuals gather in the countryside in high numbers, it could put significant stress on vulnerable rural healthcare areas; furthermore, there is the risk of carelessness in new environments. Residents have learned to eschew handshaking and respect the so-called two-metre rule (social distancing), but such behaviours could quickly be unlearned in cottages.

Víðir concluded by saying that the authorities would not hesitate to take action, emphasising that the coronavirus has an incubation period of 7 to 14 days. If action needed to be taken, it would likely occur over the next few days: “We are greatly worried; we’re not out of the woods yet.”

A Rainy Easter in the Forecast

Rain in Reykjavík

The forecast for this Easter weekend in Iceland looks to be a wet one, particularly in South and West Iceland. Nevertheless, while the slopes around the capital area have already closed for the year, the outlook for Iceland’s biggest ski weekend looks much better up north, where RÚV reports that temperatures may reach a balmy 15°C [59°F] on Friday.

Mbl.is has collected the opening hours of ski slopes all over Iceland this holiday weekend. The ski areas in Akureyri, Ísafjörður, Siglufjörður, Dalvík, Seyðistfjörður, and Fjarðabyggð will all be open, generally from 10 am – 4 pm (confirm opening hours via the link above).

There’s not expected to be a respite to the rain down south on Easter Sunday, when the weather is expected to become more overcast up north as well. Meteorologist Sigurður Jónsson noted that there may even be light snow fall here and there over the weekend, although no lasting cold spell is anticipated.

Long-Term Parking at Airport Completely Full Over Easter

The long-term parking lots at the Keflavík Airport are at full capacity for the third Easter holiday in a row. RÚV reports that the airport’s long-term parking lots closed just before 5:00 PM on Wednesday afternoon because all of the 2,600 on-site parking spaces had been filled.

The Easter holiday is a very popular time for Icelanders to travel, both within the country and abroad. Isavia’s service manager, Gunnar Ingi Hafsteinsson, said that travelers are advised to book their long-term parking spots in advance of popular travel weekends. As of lunch time on Wednesday, 95% of the long-term lot was full. By comparison, on a normal day, only 50 – 60% of the airport’s long-term parking lot is booked.

At least two other companies offer their own valet service and offsite parking options close to the airport. However, it looks as though these companies also have fully booked up during the holiday season. For instance, Smart Parking, which has 400 parking spots, reported that its lot was fully booked until April 22. And as of Wednesday afternoon, it also looked likely that Base Parking, which has nearly 1,000 parking spots, would also fill to capacity this weekend.