All 51 municipalities in Norway’s large Viken county that surrounds Oslo are now subject to most of the same strict anti-infection measures that already apply in the capital. The restrictions apply from midnight Monday and will extend until at least April 11.
The expanded restrictions in Viken, which extends from the Swedish border in the south well into the mountain communities of the former Buskerud County, follow a further tightening of rules in Oslo annnounced earlier Monday evening. Oslo residents will no longer be able to drive over the city line to go shopping or eat out.
Oslo continues to have even stricter rules, with visits of more than two guests now a punishable offense and all high schools and junior high schools closed. The new regional rules in Viken, however, mark a significant tightening themselves:
***All gatherings outside the home will be forbidden, except for funerals.
***All stores and warehouse outlets will be closed, except grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurant takeaway operations.
***No alcohol can be served and restaurants can only offer takeaway. Hotels can serve their own guests, but won’t be allowed to offer any alcoholic drinks with dinner, for example.
*** No one should invite guests home or visit others, except those living alone. They can receive two guests or visit two others. Everyone should remain at a distance of two meters from anyone not in their own household.
“Viken is also experiencing increased infection with the British mutation,” Health Minister Bent Høie said at another press conference Monday night. “Therefore we’re extending regional measures in all 51 municipalities of Viken plus Gran in Innlandet.” Gran is located in northern Hadeland and thus has close ties with the two other Hadeland communities of Lunner and Jevnaker that are now part of Viken. It made more sense for all three communities to have the same rules.
Høie stressed that fully 82 percent of all infection in Norway is now found in Oslo, Viken and what formerly was called Vestfold. “We must turn this trend around,” he said.
Even though Norwegians will still be allowed to travel to their holiday homes (hytter), many areas where hytter are located will now be subject to restrictions almost as tough as in Oslo. There won’t be any dinners out in Geilo or Hemsedal, or shopping in Hallingdal during the Easter holidays, for example. Høie also wants to reduce mobility in Norway’s most populated areas, where infection has skyrocketed in recent weeks.