May 17th parades cancelled again

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Oslo officials have once again called off Norway’s largest Constitution Day parade on the 17th of May. Other cities have already cancelled their parades, too, as Corona virus concerns spoil the country’s most important holiday for the second year in a row. Oslo will also remain in shutdown mode at least through April 15.

Corona cancelled last year’s 17th of May parade in Oslo and has done so again. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

“Unfortunately it’s not possible to have 30,000 children on Oslo’s streets, and the same numbers of parents and grandparents cheering them on,” Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen announced on Friday, just as hundreds of thousands of Norwegians are beginning a week of largely spoiled Easter holiday plans, too.

Borgen claimed there will be some form of 17th of May celebrations, but she couldn’t say what. “We must mark the 17th of May,” Borgen said. “I think that’s important.”

‘It will be different’
Oslo’s 17th of May Committee was working on some sort of program for the day, “but it will be different.” Last year the city organized smaller celebrations in local neighbourhoods. It remains uncertain whether even that will be possible, with everything hinging on the infection situation in the capital at that time. It’s currently at record highs.

Several other cities have already cancelled their 17th of May parades and festivities, including Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Stavanger. Some may allow smaller parades in neighbourhoods, however.

The rowdy spring party season for graduating high school students known as russ is also in jeopardy again. It normally runs between Easter and the 17th of May but in Oslo, local russ (roughly pronounced “roose”) hope it can run from mid-May to mid-June.

Shutdown extended
Oslo’s city government has also decided to extend the city’s shutdown through April 15. A press release issued Friday claimed the ongoing closure of all restaurants, stores, bars, cafés, museums, entertainment and exercise centers and other public gathering places is necessary to stop the spread of the virus mutation that’s been plaguing the capital for weeks.

Oslo’s rules also call for everyone to stay at least two meters from one another. The city’s shutdown was also extended to include large grocery stores that sell more than just groceries. “They’ve operated though a loophole,” said city government leader Raymond Johansen, “but can be a place that attracts people for shopping. Now they’ll only be allowed to sell food and other necessary items, and must halt the sale of all other goods in order to be allowed to open.”

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund