Could Danish companies cancel Christmas parties?

High Covid-19 infection numbers in Denmark are causing companies to reconsider Christmas party plans.Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash
Large Danish companies are considering cancellation or applying restrictions to their Christmas parties, or julefrokoster, due to the current soaring infection numbers across the country.

The annual work Christmas dinner, or julefrokost in Danish, is a staple of the country’s festive traditions and famous for often being a rowdy occasion at which normally-reserved colleagues allow themselves to let off steam.

Last year saw the festive occasions cancelled en masse as the country was hit hard by a second wave of coronavirus infections prior to the arrival of a vaccination programme against Covid-19.

No restrictions are currently in place preventing companies from having Christmas parties of any attendance, although a valid Covid-19 health pass or coronapas is required for organised events over a certain size.

Some companies in Denmark are reported to be considering asking staff to produce a valid coronapas, after the law was recently updated to reimplement a provision allowing this.

Shipping giant Maersk meanwhile says it plans to demand staff document vaccination in order to work on site.

READ ALSO: Maersk to require office staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19

A surge of infections in Denmark in recent weeks is now prompting some companies to consider applying restrictions to their Christmas parties or even cancelling them completely, media Finans reports.

Thursday saw Denmark register over 4,000 new cases of Covid-19 for the first time in 2021. 362 are currently admitted to hospital nationally. That is some way short of the peak in late 2020 and January this year, when the number of hospitalised patients exceeded 900.

However, that was at a time before a significant proportion of the population was vaccinated against Covid-19.

75.5 percent of the Danish population is currently vaccinated against the virus while 77.2 percent have had at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the latest official data.

Danfoss has cancelled large Christmas parties for its staff. Grundfos is to demand a valid coronapas while fashion firm DK Company wants all party attendees to take a Covid-19 test before its seasonal events, Finans writes.

“Our focus is to ensure the safety and health of our staff, we therefore closely follow the recommendations and guidance of authorities. Since large gatherings like Christmas parties can present a risk for spreading infections, we’ve decided to cancel the large Christmas parties,” Danfoss head of press Mikkel Thrane told Finans.

Other companies told the media they still plan to go ahead with Christmas parties.

Grundfos told Finans in a written comment that it was closely following developments and that its annual festivities would only take place if this was “considered medically advisable”. The company has yet to cancel planned events but staff will be asked to produce a valid coronapas.

Horesta, an interest organisation for the hospitality industry, said that it had so far received “fortunately only a few” cancellations from companies wishing to scrap Christmas parties.

“There are however many questions about how a big Christmas party can be held safely and advisably. We are fortunately experts on this but corona is creating a certain hesitancy just now,” the organisation’s political director Kristian Nørgaard told Finans.

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