Police and customs agents at Norway’s biggest border crossing point say they were surprised and disgusted that so many Norwegians defied government advice and drove into Sweden on Wednesday to go shopping.
“They just didn’t care, and that’s very disappointing to see,” Wenche Fredriksen, chief of the border crossing at Svinesund, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). They chose to violate Corona containment measures in order to buy cheaper groceries, beer and liquor, knowing full well they face 14 days of quarantine upon return to Norway.
“Many said they’re bored (staying at home in Norway) and that they wanted to buy cheap goods,” Fredriksen said. Her agents had written out 124 quarantine notices by 3pm on Wednesday alone.
There is a tradition to go shopping in Sweden during the Easter holidays, especially when stores are closed in Norway on Holy Thursday but open in Sweden. Given Wednesday’s traffic, it’s likely even more will cross the border on Thursday, in defiance of government pleas.
It’s not illegal to do so, but if any of those registered upon return to Norway cross the border again within the quarantine period, they can be fined up to NOK 20,000 (nearly USD 2,000).