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 autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented ‘before summer’

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that the government will soon present a strategy for managing Covid-19 should the virus resurge in Denmark next autumn and winter.

Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented 'before summer'

Although everyday life in Denmark is now free of any signs of Covid-19 restrictions, a plan will be put in place to manage a potential increase in cases of the virus once colder months return, Frederiksen said during remarks in parliament.

During a speech given as part of the parliament’s closing session before its summer break, Frederiksen noted that the coronavirus still persists in other countries and that Denmark must therefore have its own plan in place for future management of outbreaks.

“The government will therefore, before the summer (holiday), present a strategy for ongoing Covid management. We will discuss it with the other parties in parliament,” she said.

Frederiksen also said that Denmark was among the countries to have coped best with the pandemic.

“We are one of the countries that have had the lowest excess deaths. And one of the countries that has emerged best from the crisis economically. That is thanks to the efforts of each individual citizen in the country,” she said.

A new wave of Covid-19 cases later this year can be expected, according to a Danish medical expert.

“As things look now, we can reasonably hope that the thoroughly vaccinated population will be well protected against serious cases and that we will therefore see few hospitalisations,” Henrik Nielsen, senior medical consultant at Aalborg University’s infectious disease department, told news wire Ritzau.

“But the number of infections could very easily be high in the autumn and winter with a respiratory virus that gives a few days’ sickness. We expected serious cases to be limited in number,” he said.