A ban on public events

The Icelandic Minister of Health has imposed a ban on public events and gatherings. The ban is in force all over Iceland and takes effect Monday 16 March 2020 at midnight and will last for four weeks with the possibility of revision.

A ban on public events refers to gatherings organized for over 20 people. In cases of smaller events measures must be taken to ensure a minimum distance of two meters between those in attendance and that they have good access to handwashing facilities.

Organized events affected by the ban are for example:

Conferences, seminars, sporting events and other similar occasions.

Shows and entertainment events, such as dances, performances (theatres), movie theatres and private parties.

Religious meetings, such as church services, funerals, weddings and confirmations.

In addition, all other places need to ensure that no more than 20 people are in the same space at the same time. This also applies to the various operations of workplaces, institutions, clubs, restaurants, cafés, fitness centers, public swimming pools, museums, stores and other public venues where more than 100 people gather. At smaller sites it is important to ensure a minimum distance of two meters between individuals. These measures also apply to public transportation and similar operators.

At meetings, all workplaces and in all other activities where fewer than 100 gather it is important to ensure that there is a possibility to keep at least 2 meters between individuals.

Will this affect the school system?

Considerable restrictions are in place for schools during the ban. In some instances, students will not be able to go to school buildings but will instead be taught through distance teaching. In other instances, there are restrictions regarding the number of students in classrooms and their spacing in the classroom.

Upper secondary schools and universities will be closed but operated through distance teaching.

Elementary schools will be in operation if they can ensure that no more than 20 pupils are placed in each classroom. Students should not socialize in groups in cafeterias or during recess.  Particular attention will be paid to infection control and hygiene in schools. School buildings will be cleaned and disinfected every day.

Kindergartens continue their operations but must ensure that student groups are small and separated as far as possible. Particular attention will be paid to infection control and hygiene in schools. School buildings will be cleaned and disinfected every day.

These restrictions will be in constant reassessment so that they can be reduced or prolonged if necessary.

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