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

Covid-19: Could Denmark lift restrictions on gatherings ahead of plan?
Liberal party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark should speed up its current plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, says the leader of the Liberal party Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. 

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. 

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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.


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