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We are a whole month into Icelandic summer season and the government of Iceland has finally graced us with some great news!
The first batch of good news came on the 21st of May when it was announced that even though Iceland’s current border restrictions will be extended until the 15th of June, from the 1st of June the compulsory use of quarantine hotels for arrivals from high-risk countries will stop.
Furthermore, before the 15th of June, at least 60 percent of Iceland’s adult population will have been partially inoculated against COVID-19, which allows for a more relaxed approach.
However, for the time being, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist is advising to keep the testing at the border in place, in order to be able to start lifting this rule too, around mid-June. Also, a decision was made to scrap the previously announced colour-code scheme at the border.
The second batch of good news came on the 25th of May when the Icelandic government decided to relax various COVID-19 restrictions within the country.
The general restriction on the number of people at gatherings will rise from 50 to 150 persons. These restrictions will not apply to children born in or after 2015.
The 2m or 6ft social distancing rule will remain in force except in restaurants, events where guests are seated, in schools and in swimming pools and bathing facilities, where the social distancing requirement will be 1m or 3ft.
The mandatory use of face masks is restricted to circumstances that involve close proximity, such as hairdressing salons, massage facilities and similar places. Healthcare facilities may make more stringent demands regarding the use of face masks. The masks are also still required on buses, but they are no longer compulsory in shops and workplaces.
Swimming pools, gyms, bathing facilities, campsites, skiing facilities, galleries and museums can now operate at full capacity again. The opening time of restaurants is extended by one hour, from 10 pm to 11 pm.
The maximum number of persons in each restricted area at events with seated audiences is now raised from 150 to 300. Refreshments, including alcoholic beverages, may be served during intervals. The face-mask requirement will still apply at these events.
So there you have it, dear travellers, slowly, but surely Iceland is beating this nasty pandemic. Stay safe and hope to see you soon!