In a press release, Denmark's prime minister Mette Frederiksen said the reopening was only possible because of “the exemplary behaviour” of Danish residents.
“The Danes have quickly adapted to new habits, new ways of being together, and have exhibited an extraordinary sense of society,” she said. “Those habits will be crucial in making sure we can still have the infection under control as we now open up further. We still have to stand together by keeping our distance. “
She said the nine political parties had agreed to empower the government to amend the plan if the level of infections started to increase dramatically.
“The parties have agreed that if the reopening leads to the coronavirus epidemic flaring up, the reopening plan can be deviated from, so that we can slow down the tempo of our plan,” she said. “Everything depends on the epidemic being kept at a controlled level.”
Morten Østergaard, leader of the Social Liberal party said he was pleased that the public now had a timeline for the rest of the reopening.
“We have agreed on a comprehensive reopening plan, which is based on trust in the people's basic common sense and their willingness to keep their distance and stick to a high hygiene standard,” he said.
“I am fantastically happy about it, because it gives everyone some certainty over what will happen if we carry on behaving with common sense.”
Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the Danish People's Party, said the agreement allowed the Danes to see the timeline for reopening.
“Now we can say to the Danes that if they continue the efforts they've been making up until now, the parties are ready to open more things up.”
In the agreement, the nine political parties concede that they expect lifting restrictions to lead to an increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus, even from the second phase on May 11.
“The parties note that the reopening can be expected to lead to an increase in the number of infected and in hospitalisations in Phase Two as well as in future phases,” the agreement states, according to the Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
Before the June 8 reopening goes ahead, an expert group from Denmark's infectious diseases agency, SSI, will submit a report calculating the current level in infection, allowing the government to hold back from lifting some of the restrictions, and even to reimpose those that have already been removed.
On the other hand, Phase 3 includes some possible measures, such as “increased physical presence in public workplaces” and the full opening of the television broadcasters DR and TV2, which will only take place if the number of infections remains low.
Before each phase, the agreement also commits the government to reassessing the maximum number of people who can gather.
This means that although the agreement suggests raising the maximum number of people who can gather to 50 on June 8, that threshold could be raised higher, allowing for packed theatre performances.
There will also be an opportunity to further raise the allowed number of people who can gather in early August ahead of the Phase 4 announcement. But in the agreement, the parties also stress that the ban on events involving 500 people or more will stay until at least August 31.
The agreement opens the way to adapting the restrictions in place in different regions and cities, depending on the number of cases they are facing.
Phase 3 on June 8 will see the reopening of:
- Museums, theatres, art galleries, cinemas, aquariums
- Outdoor amusement parks
- Zoos and botanical gardens
- Summer activities for children and young people
- Public sector organisations facing bottle necks
- Full opening of public research activities
- Adult education sectors for the unemployed
- Language schools
- Indoor sports and other group activities (such as evening classes)
If infection rates are low, Phase 3 will also see:
- increased physical presence in public workplaces
- the full opening of the television broadcasters DR and TV2
Phase 4, in 'early August', will see the following reopen:
- Nightclubs and discos
- Gyms, waterparks and swimming pools
- Universities and all other educational institutions
Denmark in mid-March rolled out measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, though they were not as strict as some other places in Europe — or in place for as long.
While most businesses have been closed, grocery stores, pharmacies and shops that were able to ensure social distancing have remained open, and Danes have been allowed to spend time outdoors freely.
Kindergartens and primary schools resumed on April 15 and small businesses such as hairdressers have also opened up again.
The borders, closed to foreigners since March 14, remain shut, but a decision on their reopening is expected on June 1.
Since the start of the epidemic, Denmark has recorded 10,281 cases, with 522 deaths.