The new Covid-19 restrictions now in effect in Denmark

A number of new Covid-19 restrictions, approved by the Danish parliament on Friday evening, came into effect on Sunday.

People travelling on trains this in Denmark Christmas will be required to wear a face mask and reserve a seat.
People travelling on trains this in Denmark Christmas will be required to wear a face mask and reserve a seat. File photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

In an effort to slow record infection rates and escalating hospitalisation numbers, the restrictions, which took effect on Sunday, will remain in place until January 17th.

Cultural attractions closed

Concert halls, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, community centres, zoos, casinos and amusement parks such as Copenhagen’s major tourist attraction Tivoli are all amongst cultural facilities and attractions now closed under the restrictions.

Other non-essential educational activities (non-degree or qualification programmes) such as folk high schools and lectures are also closed.

In short, cultural activities have been strongly curtailed to reduce the amount of mixing throughout society.

No alcohol service after 10pm

Existing restrictions on bars, pubs and nightlife have been extended. Sales of alcohol at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments are now banned after 10pm. Bars must close by 11pm.

General sales of alcohol are now banned between 10pm and 5am.

Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are also affected by new capacity limits. This means they must restrict the number of customers to two square metres of floor space per sitting guest, and four square metres of floor space per standing guest.

Private parties outside of homes must end by 11pm

Private events held at venues outside of homes – for example, wedding receptions and Christmas parties – must end by 11pm.

The venues hosting the events must also comply with restrictions affecting licensed businesses like restaurants and bars, meaning limits on when alcohol can be served also apply here.

Capacity limits at stores open for Christmas shopping

Echoing restrictions used in earlier phases of the pandemic, capacity limits are now reintroduced in stores as well as at restaurants and places of worship.

The capacity limits apply to stores with under 2,000 square metres of floor area.

In addition to limiting the number of shoppers who can enter, stores must provide signage so customers are aware of the rules.

Retail businesses have also been asked to take measures to crowding and queuing such as adapting special offers and extending the deadline for exchanging gifts.

Face mask rules extended

Already required in stores and on public transport under existing rules, face masks must now also be worn at all business and cultural locations with public access along with take-away businesses, driving schools and places of worship.

This means libraries, gyms, places of worship and citizens’ services at town halls are among additional locations where masks must now be worn.

Reservations required on regional and long distance trains and buses

Seat reservations are now mandatory on intercity and regional trains and buses.

Reservations for rail seats cost 30 kroner, meaning passengers travelling over the Christmas period will incur an extra cost as a result of the new restrictions.

National rail operator DSB said on Sunday it would make reservations free from December 27th, but would keep the charge in place until then to prevent seats being reserved but not used.

READ ALSO: Denmark to close cinemas and theatres under new Covid restrictions

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Denmark’s infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

Travellers from China should not need a negative Covid-19 test when arriving in Denmark, the national infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute recommended on Saturday, in an assessment sent to the Ministry of Health.

Denmark's infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

In the assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI), it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal affect on Danish epidemic control.

However SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

The assessment was requested by Denmark’s health minister Sophie Løhde, following a recommendation on Wednesday by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Infection rates in China are high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

Several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK, had already introduced testing requirements, while Sweden on Thursday announced a similar step, as did Germany, with an added announcement on Saturday to discourage non-essential travel from Germany to China.

The United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Taiwan have also put testing rules in place.

Health minister Sophie Løhde also asked SSI to assess testing waste water from aircraft landed from China. SSI responded that there is limited experience in this.

SSI currently analyses samples from shared toilet tanks at four airports twice a week – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund. The method would have to be changed in order to detect new Covid-19 variants, which would take up to four weeks to implement, according to the assessment.

Løhde has informed the parliamentary parties about the assessment and has asked the Epidemic Commission for an advisory assessment, she said in a press release. Once this is done, the recommendations will be discussed.