Raised assembly limit and sports fans admitted

23.02.2021 - 13:04
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Guðmundur Bergkvist - RUV
The general assembly limit will rise from 20 to 50 people starting tomorrow. A maximum of 200 people will be allowed at certain events, subject to other conditions being fulfilled. Those events include plays, concerts, and sporting events. It will mark the first time since last autumn that spectators are allowed at live sporting events. Pubs, cafés, bars, and restaurants will be allowed to stay open an hour later.

Health minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir revealed the new rules following this morning’s cabinet meeting. They will go into effect at midnight.

50 instead of 20 

“What is perhaps most important and stands out is the increase from 20 to 50 in this general assembly limit,” Svandís says. “We continue to have the two-metre rule and face masks and this general preventative outlook. We expect to permit as many as 200 in certain situations, and we are there talking about museums and suchlike, but also stage arts and sporting events where at least one metre can be maintained between unconnected individuals, and where information on each and every one can be maintained. That is to help contact tracing, if required.” 

150 people will be allowed in each containment zone at schools, and adults will be allowed into pre- and primary schools again, where a one-metre rule will apply. The changes to school operation will last into the spring, while all other changes are set to be in place for three weeks. 

Extra rules at specific events 

Svandís says she has mostly stuck to the chief epidemiologist’s recommendations, though changes have been made to the rules allowing up to 200 people under certain circumstances. The recommendation was for the rule to apply to artistic events, while the health minister decided to widen that. 

“We together decided on changes that allow the general rule to apply, rather than singling out specific types of events, when it comes to this 200-person rule, to improve transparency. So people can come to realise that certain conditions need to be met to be able to have 200 people in the same space.” 

Event organisers need to assure, among other things, that attendees are facing the same direction, that there is one metre between different groups, and that they can gather and hold contact details of everyone at the event. 

Significant relaxation 

“This is a significant relaxation now, because we have done well and it was good to have a ‘double zero’ this morning,” Svandís says—referring to the fact that there were no new COVID-19 cases domestically or at the border yesterday. 

Sports spectators 

Up to 200 spectators will be allowed at sporting events “as long as people can stay seated, there is a metre between unconnected groups, and people are in masks. If that is not possible, then the rule will be 50, as is the general rule. So that is a change for sports fans,” Svandís says. 

Restaurants and bars will see their permitted closing time extend by an hour from tomorrow, to 23.00, with last entry at 22.00. 

In addition to these changes, swimming pools and gyms will be allowed to welcome up to 75 percent of their usual capacity of guests instead of 50 percent as it stands today. 

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