In today's round-up: Iceland has lowered its COVID-19 alert level from ‘emergency’ to ‘danger’ and is increasing the assembly limit from 50 to 200 people. Bars and gyms are opening again and the two-metre rule is becoming advisory. Icelandair investors last Friday voted unanimously in favour of a new stock offering in late June and early July.
- No new COVID-19 coronavirus diagnoses were made in Iceland yesterday or on Saturday. One new case was diagnosed on Friday, for a total of six new cases so far this May. 757 people are in home quarantine.
- With the alert level dropping from emergency to danger, groups of up to 200 people are now allowed to assemble. Bars, gambling establishments and nightclubs are allowed to re-open, as long as they close at 23.00 every night, and gyms are allowed to re-open at 50 percent capacity—just like the swimming pools that opened a week ago. The ‘troika’ of civil protection chiefs have given their final regular press briefing this afternoon, but remain ready to start them again in the event of a second wave of coronavirus infection in Iceland.
- Similarly, RÚV’s daily COVID-19 news round-ups in Polish end today, as the state of emergency is cancelled. RÚV will provide further news in Polish in the event of a second wave, and there are also plans to improve services to Polish-speakers in Iceland in the future. RÚV English will continue to cover the coronavirus crisis, but daily round-ups will now give way to news on a story-by-story basis.
- LOT Polish Airlines made several special trips in March and is adding another one this week. Some 200 people have booked the direct flight to Poland, while around half that number will be on board when the plane arrives in Iceland. Most of those coming to Iceland are Poles with jobs to come to, especially in the construction sector. Meanwhile, most of those going to Poland are people who have lost their jobs—especially Poles who have not been working in Iceland long enough to have full entitlement to unemployment benefits.
- Icelandair shareholders voted unanimously on Friday to go ahead with the proposed new stock offering on 29th June to 2nd July. The company’s board now has permission to increase capital by up to 30 billion krónur. It is expected that the stock offering will be advertised on 16th June and that State guarantees and new terms with existing creditors will be finalised by the 15th June. 82 percent of shares were represented at the meeting, which lasted less than an hour.
- The list of employers taking advantage of emergency top-up benefits to staff on reduced hours has finally been published. The list only includes companies with over six employees to protect individuals’ privacy. Some prominent names include H&M, Samskip, Pizza-Pizza (which runs Domino’s), Miklatorg (IKEA), three municipalities, and several public sector companies like Strætó and Sorpa.