Police start fining infection violations

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Riding on public transport in the Norwegian capital without a face mask can suddenly become very expensive, as can other violations of especially Oslo’s strict new Corona containment regulations. Norway’s eastern police district is also now regularly fining violations, to the tune of thousands of Norwegian kroner.

Police in the Oslo area and throughout the southeast are following up on reports of Corona infection violations, and handing out some stiff fines. PHOTO: Politi

Police officials themselves say they’d rather devote time and resources to more serious crimes, but Corona infection control is now being taken very seriously as well.

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported Wednesday how police were called last Friday night to an Oslo apartment building where a noisy party had been going on. Police met several people leaving the party when they arrived to break it up, and later confirmed that it involved far more than the 10 people allowed in any private residence.

The hosts ended up being fined NOK 10,000 (USD 1,100) for violating the ban on private gatherings with more than 10 guests. Police also reported that they’re now following up with potential fines for guests, too, which amount to NOK 5,000 each. Police were working this week to identify all the guests who were present at the party.

Forgetting or refusing to use a face mask on the city’s bus, tram and metro systems can also make the trip as expensive as an airline ticket abroad used to be when people could still fly off on holidays. Those caught riding without a face mask when it’s not possible to stay at least a meter away from others now face fines of NOK 2,000.

The same fine applies for violating face mask rules in stores, common areas of shopping centers, any bars or restaurants that are still open and all other places where the public can gather.  Bars or restaurants that violate the current ban on serving of any alcoholic drinks face the most expensive fines of as much as NOK 50,000.

Violations of quarantine and isolation rules can also result in fines of NOK 20,000. The police received six reports of alleged violations of quarantine and activity at a physical fitness center, the latter of which turned out to simply be cleaning activity.

A woman in Oslo, however, is under investigation for violating quarantine and exposing others to infection risk. Police reported that she went shopping even though she had Covid-19 symptoms and was waiting for test results, which turned out to confirm her own infection. She now faces a fine of NOK 20,000 in addition to being sick.

Police have otherwise reported a “very quiet city” since Oslo’s rules took effect, but too many people have still been meeting in private homes. “We see that infection rates are rising in Norway, and police will therefore continue to make it a priority to follow up reports from the public about possible infection violations,” Police Inspector Olav Unnestad of the Øst Police District stated in a press release Wednesday. He added that they’ll especially pay attention to reports of parties and possible quarantine violations.

“We must take on collective responsibility to contribute towards reducing and stopping infection,” Unnestad said.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund