Nine out of ten Danish Christmas parties cancelled

Hotels, restaurants and conference centres usually gearing up for a busy December of work Christmas parties face a ninety percent drop in trade due to coronavirus-related cancellations.

Nine out of ten Danish Christmas parties cancelled
A Danish Christmas party (julefrokost) anno 2012. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Nine out of ten Christmas parties have been cancelled, according to Horesta, an interest organisation for the hospitality industry.

Christmas parties usually bring in turnovers of around 2.5 billion kroner for the organisation’s members, with the 2020 festive season likely to prove a challenging time for the industry.

The nine-out-of-ten figure comes from a survey conducted by Horesta amongst its member companies.

“Our members estimate that turnover this year will only be around ten percent of normal,” Horesta head economist Jonas Kjær said in a statement.

Denmark’s coronavirus regulations limit assembly to no more than ten people, resulting in many large companies deciding to cancel Christmas celebrations.

The extreme fall-off in seasonal trade could spell trouble for parts of the hospitality industry, which is already one of the sectors to be hit hardest by coronavirus.

“For some companies, this is the activity that gives the greatest turnover,” Kjær said.

“At the same time, turnover in December can help many companies through January and February, which are the months when the fewest people go out to eat,” he said.

Horesta has asked companies in Denmark spend money on gift vouchers for their staff to go out and eat at restaurants, in lieu of Christmas party spending.

Several large companies have responded to the request, according to Kjær.

That includes Dagrofa Foodservice and Dagrofa Logistics, which are to give 1,000 employees vouchers worth 500 kroner, valid at around 30 different restaurants.

READ ALSO: Bleak midwinter: Danish companies cancel Christmas parties

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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.”