Norwegians told to stay home this summer

Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix
At a press conference on May 15, Prime Minister Erna Holberg told Norwegians that they will have to stay at home this summer.

THE LOCAL

There will be no summer holidays in Thailand or Greece this year for people living in Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced on May 15, calling on her country’s citizens to spend their vacations in their homeland instead.

“I would recommend people to plan for a Norwegian holiday this summer,” Solberg said in a press release.  “Norway is a beautiful holiday country, and although this year’s holiday will be different than we had planned, I am sure it will be very nice.”

In the press release, the government said it was extending its advice to avoid unnecessary travel until Aug. 20, although it said that on June 15, the country might make an exception for travel within the Nordic countries, with some other countries possibly to be added on July 15. 

In the press release, the government said that as it removed specific countries from the unnecessary travel advisory, it might also relax the requirement for those arriving from these countries to go into quarantine for 10 days.

At the same time as announcing the extension of the travel advisory, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) published  an updated set of guidelines that would allow domestic tourism to be increased in the safest way possible. 

“Norway is a fantastic destination. Now we are allowing people to travel anywhere in the country. But it must also be safe,” Norway’s business minister, Iselin Nybø, said in the press conference. 

“This is something that the authorities and the tourism industry have been working together to achieve. I have great confidence that the tourism companies are able to adapt to the new infection prevention guidelines.”

Norway’s minister of foreign affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, said that the decision on allowing people to travel freely within the Nordic countries would come only after a thorough analysis of the infection risk. 

“The government will ask NIPH to make a special infection assessment and ease travel restrictions for travel to the Nordic countries,” she said. “Whether you are able to travel freely in the Nordic countries will depend on whether the other Nordic countries share our assessment of the infection prevention situation.” 

When asked whether Norway might discriminate between the Nordic countries, opening up for travel from Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, but not of Sweden, where the share of the population hospitalized with coronavirus is much higher, Solberg did not dismiss the notion. 

“We are working for a common Nordic opening, in which all five countries can be opened at the same time,” she said, adding, “but we need to take a closer look at this as we approach June 15.”

This article first appeared in The Local.

This article originally appeared in the May 22, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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