Covid-19: Could Denmark lift restrictions on gatherings ahead of plan?

Denmark should speed up its current plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, says the leader of the Liberal party Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. 

Covid-19: Could Denmark lift restrictions on gatherings ahead of plan?
Liberal party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Ellemann-Jensen wants the phase of restrictions currently scheduled to take effect on May 21st to be pushed forward to May 6th. The centre-right Liberals are the largest party in opposition.

Under the current plan, on May 6th concert venues, theatres and cinemas will be allowed to open. The public gathering limit indoors, currently 10 persons, will further increase to 25 people, while the outdoor assembly limit will increase to 75.

The following phase of reopening on May 21st sees the limit go up again, to 50 persons indoors and 100 outdoors. Meanwhile all sports, leisure and association-based activities not permitted in previous rounds reopen, if infections are still controlled.

READ ALSO: What changes about life in Denmark in May 2021?

“We are in a favourable position, and we should all be happy about that. But we must also react to that and not pretend that the world is different than it is,” Ellemann-Jensen said according to news wire Ritzau.

Discussion will take place in parliament on Thursday over the ongoing easing of restrictions.

The political talks are scheduled on a regular basis to clarify a need to either speed up or slow down reopening as the spring progresses.

Ellemann-Jensen declined to give a specific figure, but he said that it would be “natural” to use the 50 indoors, 100 outdoors model as early as May 6th. 

The Liberals will also push for all children and young people to fully return to school and education, according to the report.

Ellemann-Jensen also wants events like weddings to be permitted to continue after 11pm. Current rules require bars and restaurants to close at this time. The Liberal leader also wants to see gyms reopen.

He also pledged to bring up the topic of large-scale assemblies and events like music festivals scheduled to take place this summer.

An expert group appointed by the government published late last week its recommendations on for corona-safe, large-scale events. Music festivals, concerts and sports are among the sectors keen for a final decision over restrictions.

Although the expert recommendations have been published, they must still be negotiated and agreed on politically before restrictions are finalised. But the recommendations have events like large festival looking unlikely to go ahead, should politicians decide to follow the advice. 


Summer camps and sports tournaments for children and young people were placed in the same group as large music festivals in the recommendations. That was questioned by the Liberal leader.

“These are two different events. There are two different audiences, and there are significantly more people at one than at the other,” he said.

Additionally, Ellemann-Jensen wants to abolish the requirement that customers make a reservation at a restaurant or bar 30 minutes in advance if they are to sit inside. This restriction was originally meant to be in place until May 6th but has been the subject of criticism.

The administrative director of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Brian Mikkelsen, backed the suggestion the fourth phase should be moved up to May 6th. 

That would give “gyms, organisations and other leisure facilities a much-needed opportunity to open earlier than planned,” Mikkelsen said in a written comment.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


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.”