Denmark to reopen shops, cafés and schools in new political deal

The Local Denmark
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Denmark to reopen shops, cafés and schools in new political deal
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen steps out to announce the agreement to the waiting press on Thursday. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's political parties have struck a new political agreement which will see shopping malls reopen on Monday, professional sport restart immediately, and cafés, restaurants, and schools reopen from May 18.


"We have continued to take our starting point as the demand that it must be safe from a health point of view," Denmark's prime minister Mette Frederiksen said as she announced the agreement. "But we are opening up so that it benefits the Danish economy, Danish businesses and therefore also Danish employees. 
"And then we have also chosen to take in consideration some actions that are not directly related to the economy, but which have to do with how we can live our lives in this time."  
The parties have decided to keep in place a ban on gatherings involving more than ten people, even though the country's infectious diseases agency, SSI, said in advice given to the parties that there was "a potential opportunity" to raise the limit to 50. 
At the press conference Frederiksen stressed that the timetable was still dependent on residents sticking to social distancing and hygiene guidelines. 
"The situation is still serious, and even though we are smiling today, I have to emphasize that it is a virus we are dealing with and we cannot negotiate with it," she said. 
"We must keep our distance and follow the authorities' guidelines. If we do that, we will move towards a gradual and greater opening of Danish society. "You have to be solidarity with those who must not be infected by the disease, who risk dying if they get it." 


Here is the timetable for the second phase of Denmark's reopening: 
From May 7: 
  • Professional sports can resume, but without spectators.
  • Amateur sports and other collective activities which take place outside can resume, so long as they do not break the ban on gatherings of more than ten people. 
  • Critical public institutions such as in Denmark's defence forces, police, and social services, can return to normal operations. 
From May 11: 
  • The shops which have been closed during the lockdown will be able to reopen, as will shopping malls. 

From May 18: 

  • Pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 will be able to return to school.
  • Restaurants, cafés and bars can reopen for sit-down customers.
  • Libraries will reopen for those loaning and returning books
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious institutions can reopen
  • Exams and education requiring physical presence can resume. 
  • Denmark's 'efterskoler', or after schools, public boarding schools teaching a range of subjects, can reopen. 
  • Zoos can open so long as guests can stay in their cars. 
By June 1 
  • The government has agreed to announce its plans for the extension or removal of temporary border controls and entry bans. 


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