Here’s what you need to know about Denmark’s ‘phase four’ reopening

Denmark is set to move to the next stage of reopening in the country after political parties reached agreement on the future steps of the plan.

Here’s what you need to know about Denmark’s 'phase four' reopening
Justice minister Nick Hækkerup presents the phase four reopening agreement. Photo: Thomas Sjørup/Ritzau Scanpix

On Saturday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that facemasks would become mandatory on public transport across the country from August 22nd to try to contain the coronavirus.

The reopening agreement presented Saturday is a new version of a previously-planned phase four, which takes into account increasing infections in Denmark in recent weeks.

As such, a planned increase in the maximum number of people allowed to gather or attend an event remains at 100 and will not be increased at the current time. This will be reviewed again in September, justice minister Nick Hækkerup said according to DR.

But a rule requiring tourists to spend at least six nights in Denmark will be abolished as planned.

The new agreement also provides for bars and restaurants to remain open for longer than in earlier stages of the reopening.

Previously required to close at midnight, the new rules will enable bars and restaurants to remain open until 2am, provided new guests are not allowed to enter after 11pm.

Nightclubs and discos, which were part of the previous version of the phase four opening, will not be allowed to reopen yet, with permission for this set back to no earlier than October 31st.

But establishments of this type will be allowed to open under the rules applied to bars and restaurants they can be “adapted to bars within health authority guidelines,” Hækkerup said.

That means changes including the removal of dance floors and limiting the amount of people that can congregate in bar areas.

The government also said it would look into a provision providing free face masks for underprivileged groups, DR reports.

“We have been given notice that the government will find a solution so that people with chronic conditions, depleted immune systems or the socially vulnerable will be able to get free face masks,” Peder Hvelplund, health spokesperson with left-wing party the Red Green Alliance, said to the broadcaster.

READ ALSO: Danish party calls for free face masks for low-income groups

Phase four will be in place until October 31st and the key elements are listed below.


  • The requirement for foreign tourists for 6 nights in Denmark is removed.
  • The assembly ban on over 100 people is extended until October 31st but the political parties will review this by the end of September.
  • Certain criteria allow assembly of up to 500 people (for example in football stadia). This is also extended until October 31st.
  • Bars, cafés and restaurants may open until 2am if new guests are not allowed in after 11pm
  • Nightclubs, discos and the similar establishments remain closed until October 31st. However, if they adapt their activities to follow restaurant and bar guidelines, they can open on these terms.
  • Outdoor funerals and burials are subject to an assembly limit of 200 people.
  • The government expects the use of face masks in public to be expanded and made more uniform.
  • Laboratory facilities are to be extended with the goal of providing access to a Covid-19 test within 24 hours for 80 percent of the population should have, and a response to the test the following day, also for 80 percent.
  • Negotiations will take place with business, culture and sports sectors that will be hit extremely hard by continued closures, travel guidelines and assembly limits. people, border closures and travel guidance. The parties agree that affected companies will need to be compensated.
  • Travel guidelines may be regionalised.
  • In order to break local chains of infection, authorities can conduct targeted campaigns including face mask use, working from home and local lockdowns.

Source: Ritzau, Ministry of Justice



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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”