Oslo shuts down the taps

Bookmark and Share

All serving of alcoholic beverages in Oslo was banned during the weekend, after officials grew alarmed that bar customers weren’t following anti-Corona infection measures. No other Norwegian towns and cities have followed suit, at least not yet.

“We’re in a very serious situation, and must control infection,” Victoria Marie Evensen of the Labour Party, in charge of business and trade issues for the Oslo city government, told state broadcaster NRK. “Unfortunately we saw that many (bars) didn’t enforce the rules. We had to act accordingly.”

That involved imposing the ban on serving alcoholic drinks from 8:30pm Saturday. The ban also applies to restaurants and all establishments serving wine, beer and liquor, but bars are the hardest hit.

The sudden lack of business caused by Corona virus fears had already prompted a fund-raising campaign for at least one popular Oslo bar called Last Train, that’s been a cherished institution for many over the past few decades. Loyal patrons want to protect the bar from bankruptcy, and raised NOK 250,000 by Saturday.

Bergen’s city government leader Roger Valhammer, also from the Labour Party, said politicians were considering more restrictions as well. So far, however, police and city officials reported that most bars and restaurants were following the rules that demand, among other things, maintaining a distance of at least a meter among customers.

Complaints were lodged about crowds at a few outdoor restaurants in Bergen where customers were out enjoying unsually warm sunshine on Saturday, but the crowds thinned after police paid a visit Saturday afternoon.

newsinenglish.no staff