70% of Icelanders May Have Already Had COVID-19

COVID-19 briefing Iceland Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason wrote in his latest column on covid.is that he estimates the actual number of Icelanders who have been infected with the coronavirus to be as much as double the number of people formally diagnosed. That would mean that around 70% of Icelanders have had COVID-19.

Should that be the case, Iceland could reach the pandemic’s peak in the next few weeks, after which time diagnoses will start to drop, Þórólfur predicts.

COVID-19 is still a serious problem

In his column, Þórólfur reminds the public that COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through the community, and though the number of tests being conducted is decreasing that doesn’t mean cases are dropping.

3,367 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Iceland on Feb. 28 — 3,215 through rapid testing and 152 through PCR.

He also said the health care system is feeling the pressure.

“At Landspítali, about 10 individuals are admitted daily with or due to COVID-19, and slightly less are discharged,” Þórólfur wrote. “Today, 55 people are in hospital with/due to the disease, three of them in the intensive care unit, all on a ventilator.”

He says it is important that everyone realizes that COVID-19 is still a significant health issue in Iceland, despite official disease control measures being lifted. “Everyone is encouraged to continue to use individual disease control measures aimed at delaying the spread of COVID-19 and preventing uncontrollable strain on our healthcare system.”

No More COVID-19 Prevention Measures at Iceland’s Border

Keflavík Airport

Along with lifting COVID-19 social restrictions domestically, the government has also called off all disease-prevention measures at the border. There is no longer a requirement for a PCR test to board aircraft and no need to quarantine upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status.

Wholesale lifting of restrictions

Before today, all travellers arriving in Iceland were required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test administered no more than 72 hours before departure to Iceland (regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have previously contracted COVID-19). These restrictions no longer apply.

As per the authorities’ statements Wednesday, all COVID-19 measures at the Icelandic border were lifted at midnight – regardless of whether individuals are vaccinated or unvaccinated. (Visa requirements, of course, have not changed.)

As noted on Icelandair’s webpage: “All visitors are welcome, with no requirement for a PCR test to board aircraft, or testing or quarantine upon arrival. There is no longer a requirement to present a certificate of vaccination or of a prior COVID-19 infection.”

Travellers are, however, asked to keep in mind that the lifting of these restrictions does not mean that they cannot wear a mask. Travellers should also be aware that different rules apply for different airlines and countries.

Iceland to Lift All COVID Restrictions Next Week

On February 25, Iceland’s authorities plan to lift all remaining domestic restrictions due to COVID-19, the country’s Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson has stated. This includes isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19, though those who are sick will still be encouraged to stay at home. Iceland’s National University Hospital continues to experience strain, particularly due to staff shortages caused by COVID illness.

Iceland reported 2,489 new domestic cases of COVID-19 yesterday, a national record. The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 is 54, with 3 currently receiving intensive care. As of this morning, 363 hospital staff members were in isolation due to COVID infection, a record for the hospital. Willum says authorities are considering lifting isolation requirements for hospital staff that is symptom-free. Iceland’s current domestic restrictions include a 200-person gathering limit and mask use when distancing cannot be ensured.

Responsibility shifts to individuals

Barring any unexpected changes, Willum says authorities plan to lift all remaining domestic restrictions on February 25, or Friday next week. This includes requiring those who are COVID-19 positive to isolate. “But then it’s important to remember, that just like in general when people get sick, you need to get better and be careful. The more we lift restrictions the more we appeal to the individual’s responsibility to take care of their health.

COVID-19 services transferred to local healthcare centres

COVID-19 healthcare services are also undergoing sweeping changes in Iceland. As of today, primary healthcare centres will take over most COVID-19 services and monitoring of COVID-19 patients, previously done by the National University Hospital’s COVID-19 ward. Individuals who are seriously ill due to COVID-19 and those in high-risk groups will still be serviced by the National University Hospital, however. Vaccination, which for capital area residents has been administered in a mass-vaccination centre set up in Laugardalshöll stadium, will also be moved to primary healthcare centres in two weeks.

Government to Relax Restrictions At Midnight, Lift Domestic Restrictions By Mid-March

Katrín Jakobsdóttir at press briefing

The first step in the government’s plan to lift restrictions will take effect at midnight, ministers from the Icelandic government announced at a press briefing at the Culture House earlier today. Bars will reopen and be allowed to remain open until 11 pm, and audiences will return to sporting events. If nothing unexpected happens, restrictions will continue to be lifted over the next six to eight weeks, and by mid-March, we could be looking at a restriction-free society. Finance Minister Bjarni Ben also announced that the government will continue its financial support for industries hard hit by the effect of restrictions.

Changes to restrictions taking effect at midnight:

  • General gathering limits expand from 10 to 50
  • Social distancing requirements go from two metres to one.
  • Mask requirements remain unchanged
  • Swimming pools, gyms, spas and ski resorts, which have been operating at a 5% capacity will now be able to operate at 85% capacity.
  • Sporting events will continue to be allowed and now, audiences are permitted to attend, 500 per compartment.
  • The maximum number of customers in stores will e 500.
  • Bars, pubs, arcades and slots machines will be allowed to reopen.
  • Restaurants, as well as bars and clubs, will be allowed to remain open until 11 pm, but all guests must have left the premises by midnight.
  • Seated events will e allowed to welcome audiences of up to 500 per compartment, keeping up a social distance of one metre between unconnected parties. Masks are required but rapid tests are not.
  • School operations will remain unchanged but will adapt relaxed restrictions when appropriate.
  • The regulation will take effect on January 29 and be in effect until February 24.

The following is a lightly-edited transcription of Iceland Review’s live-tweeting of the briefing.

The government will be presenting plans on easing restrictions over the coming weeks.  Iceland reported 1,213 new domestic cases of COVID-19 yesterday, fewer than the previous few days. Still, there are 11,297 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. Around 5% of the population is either in isolation or quarantine. Both ministers and healthcare authorities will be present at the briefing, which is to begin shortly.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdottir takes the podium. The Finance Minister and Health Minister are present, as are the Chief Epidemiologist, Director of Health, and Director of Civil Protection. Katrín says the plan is to go over the plan for the next few weeks: “we have good news.”

Katrín: There have been real changes in our fight against the pandemic. The virus has changed its behaviour and widespread vaccinations, as well as the healthcare system’s success in treating illness, have made a difference. It was a watershed moment this week when we relaxed the quarantine regulations. This is a fundamental change in our tactics. This tells us that we’re taking careful steps from tempering infections toward opening up society. This has remained our goal the whole time, Katrín says. We’ve introduced lifting restrictions before and then had to reimpose them before. But now, the science seems to indicate that we could be one step closer to regaining normality.

Katrín: Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson will introduce action to help society tackle the next few weeks financially.

Katrín: Restrictions will be lifted in stages over the next six to eight weeks. The plan is to take safe and careful steps to get back to what we considered normal two years ago. I know there are people that are afraid that we’re doing this too quickly and taking too much risk. I want to assure those people that no steps to impose restrictions or to lift them have been taken lightly. We’re doing our very best to protect people’s lives and health. Katrín: When the situation is deemed safer by healthcare authorities, we have to take steps to lift restrictions, in full cooperation and with the support of healthcare authorities.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson takes over to discuss financial support for impacted industries. Bjarni: In short, since the new government took power, we’ve been discussing the best way to deal with the situation. Bjarni mentions the reimposing of rebound grants (viðspyrnustyrkir) for restaurants and ISK 450 million to support performing arts and culture. It wasn’t clear that we would need this financial support until Omicron appeared and society slowed down again. With a high percentage of the nation in quarantine or isolation, spending collapsed. Bjarni: We’re looking at good news now, which will likely result in a better economic outlook for these industries. The grants will be awarded for the period between December and March, Bjarni says.

Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson takes over. Willum: We can allow ourselves to be optimistic. In my time as Health Minister, I’ve received several memoranda from the Chief Epidemiologist and the latest was the most positive yet. We’ve had to impose restrictions to be able to handle the situation. I will now go over the first step in the plan to lift restrictions, taking effect tomorrow.

In the first step: we’ve had a gathering limit of 10, which will now be 50. General social distancing reduces from 2 metres to 1. Mask requirements will remain unchanged. Swimming pools and gyms have been operating at 50% capacity but will now go to 75%. Audiences will be permitted once more at sports events. Bars will be permitted to reopen and be allowed to stay open to 11:00 PM, all guests must leave by 12:00 AM. For cultural events, up to 500 people are permitted per compartment. Schools will operate under the same conditions as before.

It is important to ensure predictability, Willum says. As for the situation at the hospital, we’ve supported them fully. The situation has improved greatly and the infection prevention committee will continue to monitor the situation. The situation is still precarious but it looks a lot better.

The press briefing itself received an exception from the current gathering limit of 10.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir takes over once more. She says if everything goes according to plan, Iceland will be able to lift all domestic COVID-19 restrictions by mid-March. Katrín: The lifting of domestic restrictions depends on the situation, of course. Katrín states that they’ve consulted many experts in all fields and consult regularly with the so-called troika (Chief Epidemiologist, Director of Health, and Director of Civil Protection). The conversation with specialists in their fields has been enlightening and is very important, Katrín says. Katrín reiterates that the new domestic regulations outlined just now by the Health Minister take effect at midnight.

The formal press conference has ended and the ministers and health authorities are now taking interviews.

COVID-19 Information Briefing: National Hospital Facing Its Biggest Challenge Yet

Þórólfur Guðnason Chief Epidemiologist

Icelandic authorities’ gave a COVID-19 information briefing at 11 AM on the COVID-19 situation in Iceland following the ongoing surge in infections. On the panel were familiar faces: Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, Director of Health Alma Möller, and Director of Civil Protection Víðir Reynisson. During the briefing, the team urged the nation to lay low, stay at home as much as possible to reduce the daily number of infections. All of Iceland’s healthcare system is now in a state of emergency with all institutions, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes operating according to contingency plans. Þóróflur urged everyone to get vaccinated and boosted if they can but noted that if they don’t manage to get the daily number of infections down, he might have to suggest tightening restrictions after the weekend.

Iceland’s COVID-19 numbers Jan. 11:
Domestic cases: 1,135
Border cases: 60
Total active cases: 10,033 ⬇️
Hospitalised: 47 (7 in ICU)
14-day incidence rate per 100,000: 3,974 ⬆
Fully vaccinated: 77% of population
Booster shots: 45% of population
The information briefing went as follows:

Víðir starts the briefing by discussing the healthcare system which is now on emergency alert as a whole. All institutions in the healthcare system are operating according to contingency plans, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

A unified government supports infection prevention action

The government is unified in the action taken to curb infections and in their support for the healthcare system. We’re not the only ones in this situation, in the countries around us, they’re facing the same situation. Víðir states that no healthcare system in the world is prepared to fight a healthcare issue at this level and reminds people not to blame the national hospital or Iceland’s healthcare system for the situation, it’s the virus that’s the problem.

Þórólfur goes over the numbers

Þórólfur takes over and goes over the day’s numbers. For the past few days, the pandemic has been growing linearly, with the number of active cases rising each day. Yesterday, 1135 people were diagnosed yesterday, 26% of which were children under the age of 12. In the wake of the increase in societal transmission, 2-7 people have been hospitalised each day. Omicron variant is dominant in Iceland, 90% of all diagnoses but the delta variant is still here, with around 100 new cases each day. The rate of hospitalisations with delta is quite high, at 0.5% but omicron hospitalisations are rarer, at a rate of 0.2-0.3%.

The forecast suggests a rise in hospitalisations

The University of Iceland’s forecast model points to new daily cases remaining at around 1000 per day for the rest of the month, perhaps with 70 people hospitalised or more. The situation in the healthcare system is quite bad at the moment and it looks like it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks. The current objective is to get the rate of daily new cases down to 500 for the healthcare system to be able to manage the load.

Þórófur urges people to get vaccinated and boosted

It’s important to reduce the number of daily cases and to make sure all eligible people get vaccinated and boosted. Early data indicates that the efficacy of children’s vaccinations is the same if not better than for adults. For adults, the vaccine is not as effective in reducing infections, although it has proven very effective in reducing the rate of serious illness.

Contracting COVID-19 worse than getting vaccinated

As for the discussion of the effect of COVID on children, the rate of serious effects from covid is much higher than the rate of serious side effects of the vaccine. Þórólfur states that all arguments point to the benefits of vaccinating children.

At the moment, the outlook is not good but for the coming weeks and months, the outlook is better. With the high rate of infections, it’s becoming clear that we can tolerate a certain number of covid infections and still keep society running.

National Hospital facing its biggest challenge yet

Alma takes over, stating that the national hospital is facing its biggest challenge yet. The situation is dire, with many of the hospital’s staff in quarantine or isolation.

Nine people were hospitalised with covid yesterday, four for issues relating directly to their covid diagnosis. At the moment, 11 people in hospital with covid were hospitalised for other issues but still require covid-level care.

Increased strain on healthcare institutions, clinics, and nursing homes. Staff in welfare services are also under a great deal of strain due to quarantines and isolations and Alma urges qualified staff to sign up for the reserve forces list.

People are moved within the hospital, staff from private clinic Klíníkin are arriving at the hospital to aid the national hospital staff as well as nurses from the Akureyri hospital. The hospital has been forced to postpone surgeries that can wait and other services.

Alma goes over solutions already in place within the system, such as new nursing home beds, rehabilitation beds, daycare, increased home services, increased automation, and digital solutions.

Alma encourages everyone to show healthcare staff the support they can by showing respect and doing what they can to reduce infections, as well as getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible.

The panel is now open for questions.

Þórólfur is asked in light of his memorandum outlining the seriousness of the situation, why he didn’t suggest tightening restrictions. He states that his memorandum was intended to reiterate how serious the situation was to the government but if daily infection numbers won’t turn around, he will have to suggest tighter restrictions.

Alma is asked why the challenge is bigger this time around. She states that it’s partly the higher number of infections than ever before, as well as more staff in quarantine and isolation but also the long-term effect of the pandemic, pandemic fatigue. She notes that during the first wave of the pandemic, society as a whole slowed down and there were fewer hospitalisations for other reasons. That’s not the situation this time around and strain from the hospital’s other tasks adds to the pressure.

When asked if it was a mistake not to postpone schools reopening after Christmas, Alma states that healthcare authorities respect the government’s wish that schools remain open and realise its importance for society as a whole but it might have been better to postpone schools reopening after Christmas break. Þórólfur agrees, reminding people that he suggested Schools not resume until January 10.

When asked if he regretted the government’s decisions and if he was giving them too much power over infection prevention, Þórólfur states that he is not worried about the government’s choices in infection prevention. Their cooperation remains close as it has been throughout the pandemic, with Þórólfur making suggestions for restrictions he believes are wise based on the situation, and the government acting on them.

Þórólfur is again asked about restrictions remaining the same. He repeats that he might have to turn in suggestions for tighter restrictions after the weekend.

Þórólfur states that the worry is not just the delta infections, hospitalisations with omicron variant are increasing. When the virus is so widespread, hospitalisation will increase.

Þórólfur is asked about people trying to get the virus to “get it over with” Þórólfur states that it’s a very bad idea, increasing the risk of societal spread and keeping the number of daily infections up, increasing the risk of hospitalisations with added strain on the national hospital.

Þórólfur is asked about Jansen vaccinated people. He states that soon after they started administering the Jansen vaccine, despite the one-dose promise, they decided to treat it as one dose of Pfizer or other vaccines, offering them a second shot and now a booster. So they are not being discriminated against.

Þóóflur is asked about antibody tests. At the moment, authorities are not accepting antibody tests as valid COVID-19 infections.

When delta was raging, there were very few reinfections. They’ve increased with omicron and they’re now in the hundreds, although that’s not much compared to how many people have had the virus. Triple infections are very rare.

Þórólfur is asked when the pandemic ends. He replies that he doesn’t know when it will end but he expects that without new variants or anything unexpected happening, Þórólfur expects that in a few weeks or months, we will have reached enough herd immunity to relax restrictions.

It’s not likely that we will get another wave of omicron infections but new variants can always appear.

Alma is asked about early treatment for covid-19, vitamins, and the theory that ivermectin helps against illness. She states that healthcare authorities follow all covid-related research published in scientific journals, but that no reliable science recommends the use of ivermectin. Recommends reading material on the drug on the University of Iceland’s Vísindavefurinn. She notes that people should make sure they get all the vitamins they need, such as vitamin d supplements, no matter if they have COVID-1 or not. There are some new viral medications that the hospital has access to and is using according to recommendations based on thorough scientific research.

Þórólfur is asked if unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19 will also have different quarantine requirements as the triple vaccinated. Þórólfur replies that people who have contracted COVID-19 and have had two shots of the vaccine can follow the relaxed quarantine regulations but others will have to quarantine like before.

Víðir closes the meeting by repeating the goal of the restrictions, to protect the healthcare system, reduce the number of daily infections. He states that there are some milestones authorities are looking towards, the first one being to reduce the number of infections to fewer than 500, which would likely get hospitalisations below one per day.

He notes that people are probably tired of hearing him repeat himself but urges people to remember how far we’ve come. It might get darker before the dawn but as the Icelandic proverb goes (loosely translated), there’s an end to all storms.

Take care and be kind to one another.

 

 

Resturants, Concerts Granted Temporary Slack From New COVID Restrictions

A waiter holding two dishes in Hlemmur Food Hall

Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson has decided to exempt restaurants from new infection prevention gathering limits on December 23. Restaurants can accept 50 guests in each compartment instead of 20 as stipulated in the new regulations. Musicians hosting Christmas concerts have also been allowed to host events according to requirements from the previous and milder infection prevention regulation. 

Aside from the gathering limits, restaurants must uphold, including closing at 9 pm. The exception is made to ensure proportionality in light of the short notice given until the new regulations took effect. Restaurants are encouraged to continue to keep up the utmost infection prevention measures, including providing access to hand sanitisers, making sure mask requirements are upheld, and keeping up the 1-metre social distance between unrelated parties. 

December 23 is known as Þorláksmessa and is a popular day for fermented skate parties at home or in restaurants, people-watching, and last-minute shopping in downtown Reykjavík. 

Musicians such as Bubbi Morthens and Emmsjé Gauti have also been granted exemptions to host their Christmas Concerts based on the previous infection prevention regulation requirements. Five hundred people are allowed in each compartment, provided they can present a negative antigen test performed by a healthcare professional no less than 48 hours previous. 

In a conversation with Fréttablaðið reporter, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has called the exemptions “maybe not the wisest course of action from an epidemiological standpoint.”

New Covid Rules: Gathering Limits Reduced to 20 Persons

Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson has introduced new infection prevention restrictions, following a government meeting that started at 9:30 this morning.

The changes to the current regulations include a gathering limit of 20 persons. Swimming pools and gyms are required to cut down the number of visitors by half and negative rapid test results will be required at larger events. A 2-metre social distancing rule will also replace the current 1-metre rule.

The Chief Epidemiologist, Þórólfur Guðnason, suggested the new rules last night. He had also advised that Christmas breaks from schools at all education levels should be prolonged to slow down the spread of the virus. However, the Health Minister turned down the advice, stating that the ministers responsible for education would monitor the situation over the next few days before making a final decision.

The new rules will not affect the opening hours of shops, bars and restaurants. Restrictions at the national borders will remain unchanged.

Cases have been rising rapidly in the past days, reaching an all-time high of 286 cases nationwide yesterday. Thousands of people will therefore spend Christmas in quarantine or isolation.

Experts have warned that the Omicron variant will spread quickly over the next weeks, resulting in a sharp rise in cases. Már Kristjánsson, head physician of the Infectious Diseases Ward at Landsspitali University Hospital said in an interview with RUV yesterday that if the current development continues, daily cases may rise to 600.

The new rules will take effect at midnight tomorrow, lasting for at least three weeks.

New Infection Prevention Regulations To Be Introduced Tomorrow

Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson received the Chief Epidemiologist’s suggestions for new infection prevention restrictions this morning, RÚV reports. Changes to the current regulations, if any, will be introduced tomorrow after a government meeting. Following a period of a slow but steady decrease in infections, infections have spiked over the last few days, and yesterday saw a record 220 new cases in one day. 

Willum received Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason’s suggestions for the new restrictions this morning. They will be discussed in a remote ministerial meeting at three o’clock today and at a government meeting tomorrow morning. After tomorrow’s meeting, changes to the infection prevention regulation will be announced, if any. The current rules were set to expire on December 22. 

Yesterday saw record infection numbers with 220 new domestic cases and 18 at the border. According to the Chief Epidemiologist, the numbers of Delta and Omicron variant cases are rising, and he expects even higher numbers in the coming days. One patient in the National Hospital died this weekend, marking the 37th COVID death in Iceland. 

Read More: What’s the status of COVID-19 in Iceland?

 

Iceland’s Domestic COVID-19 Restrictions Extended

Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson

Iceland’s 50-person gathering limit, mask regulations, and restricted opening hours for bars and restaurants will remain in place for an additional two weeks. Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson announced the extension of the country’s current domestic restrictions following a cabinet meeting this morning. Willum added that restrictions might be relaxed earlier if the omicron variant proved of less concern than scientists initially predicted.

Iceland identified its first case of COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant on November 30, and has since discovered at least ten. Local authorities are following the variant’s spread closely to determine whether it is more infectious or causes more serious illness than previous strains.

Iceland’s current domestic restrictions include a 50-person gathering limit, one-metre distancing, and mandatory mask use on public transportation, in shops, and wherever distancing cannot be maintained. Events of up to 500 are permitted on the condition that all guests provide a negative rapid antigent or PCR test certificate. Restaurants and bars may admit guests until 10:00 PM and must close by 11:00 PM. Gyms and swimming pools are permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Gathering and mask restrictions do not apply to children born in 2016 or later.

The restrictions will remain in place until December 22.

COVID-19 in Iceland: Restrictions Tightened Again Following Sharp Increase in Infections

Former Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir

After receiving suggestions from Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided to significantly tighten infection prevention restrictions to contain the fast spread of  COVID-19. The regulations go into effect at midnight tonight. Gatherings will generally be limited to 50 people, but events requiring rapid tests can have 500 people per compartment. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to remain open until 10 pm, and swimming pools, ski resorts, and gyms will operate at a 75% capacity. The regulations will remain in effect until Dec 8.

The Ministry of Health cites a sharp rise in domestic infections, with an increasing strain on the healthcare system and contact tracing teams as the main reason for the tightened restrictions. “Due to the situation, the National Hospital’s services have been interrupted, and they’re facing a staff shortage,” the Chief Epidemiologist’s memorandum to the Minister of Health stated. “The same goes for other healthcare institutions.” The Chief Epidemiologist has stated that tight infection prevention restrictions are necessary while working on reaching widespread communal immunity with the booster shot program that’s already underway. Approximately 160,000 people will be called in for their third vaccine shot by the end of the year.

For the past three days, new cases per day have ranged from 162-192. Authorities have stated that for the National Hospital to handle the strain, bringing new cases per day down to 40-60 or less would be ideal.

Restrictions taking effect at midnight:

  • A general gathering limit of 50 people, not counting children born in 2016 or later.
  • A social distance of 1 metre is required between unrelated individuals. If the distance can’t be kept, the use of masks is required. Despite this, sports training will be allowed for children as well as adults. Pre-school aged children and elementary school students from 1-4. grade are exempt from mask use.
  • Masks should be worn wherever the 1-metre social distance can’t be kept, e.g. in shops, public transport and during services requiring proximity, such as hair and beauty salons. Children born in 2006 or later are exempt from mask requirements.
  • Events requiring rapid tests for every guest born in 2015 and earlier can admit up to 500 people per compartment. If the 1-metre social distance can’t be kept, guests should wear masks, such as when seated. Guests should be registered with a seat number, name, personal identity numbers (kennitala), and phone number. Selling refreshments during intermission is not allowed. School events for elementary and upper secondary schools requiring rapid tests are exempt from social distance rules and mask requirements.
  • Swimming pools, spas, gyms, and ski resorts can operate at 75% capacity, not counting children born in 2016 or later.
  • Restaurants and other establishments selling alcohol are not permitted to admit new customers after 10 pm, and all guests should have left by 11 pm. Drinks shall be served at tables, and all guests should be registered. Private parties in establishments with a license to sell alcohol are not permitted after 11 pm.
  • Shops and museums can admit up to 50 people keeping a social distance of 1 metre and wearing masks if that distance is not maintained. Larger spaces can admit an additional five persons per 10 m2, never exceeding 500 people.

Schools

  • Generally, there’s a gathering limit of 50 people, excluding children born in 2016 or earlier. Children born in 2006 or later are exempt from mask requirements.
  • Pre-school staff is not required to wear masks around the students.
  • Elementary school teachers are permitted to take off their masks once the class is seated.
  • Students and teachers in upper secondary schools (menntaskóli) are permitted to remove their masks when seated in classrooms.
  • Mixing groups during school sessions is permitted at all school stages.