It’s become much easier to drive over the border between Norway and Sweden this week, since the governments of both countries decided to drop most remaining restrictions from October 1st. On Tuesday, smaller border crossings in remote areas that were completely closed during the Corona pandemic were also reopening, with only sporadic controls.
Norway’s Home Guard soldiers have packed up and withdrawn from the remote border crossings, some of which are located on dirt roads. Control checkpoints are being phased out and barriers removed, leaving it up to travelers themselves to follow the rules.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that all crossings along Norway’s lengthy border to Sweden will be open from midnight Wednesday. Covid-19 testing centers will also be dismantled.
“From now on, the border patrol will only carry out sporadic controls of those driving through,” Pål Erik Teigen of the Innlandet Police District told NRK on Tuesday. He noted that some travelers will still be expected to test themselves within 24 hours of entering Norway, including those who are not fully vaccinated and those arriving from areas where infection is high.
“Also those feeling ill should take a Covid test,” Teigen said, ” but now it’s based on the honour system, and up to those involved to follow through.”
Pandemic not over yet, though…
He stressed that “infection remains within society” on both sides of the border, “and we should all do what we can to keep it contained.” Motorists unable to document being fully vaccinated will still be directed to testing stations at the major border crossings where testing stations remain, like those at Svinesund and Magnor in the south and Storskog in the north, and at all airports with international flights.
Teigen, who’s been responsible for all border crossings in the Innlandet region of eastern Norway, noted that it’s been a big and unusual job. Soldiers and police hadn’t had to stop travelers at the border for many decades. Now daily life is returning to normal, and Norwegians can even resume shopping in Sweden (where prices tend to be much lower than in Norway) without too much inconvenience.