What are Denmark’s Covid-19 rules for New Year’s Eve?

Denmark does not currently have any Covid-19 restrictions on assembly in place, but has issued recommendations in advance of New Year’s Eve. Nightlife and alcohol sales remain subject to restrictions.

Muted celebrations in Copenhagen on New Year's Eve in 2020. Fewer Covid-19 restrictions are in place in 2021 but health authorities have encouraged the public to limit plans.
Muted celebrations in Copenhagen on New Year's Eve in 2020. Fewer Covid-19 restrictions are in place in 2021 but health authorities have encouraged the public to limit plans. Photo: Tobias Kobborg/Ritzau Scanpix

New Year’s Eve 2021 will not see limitations on people gathering, in contrast to 2020, but current Covid-19 rules do place restrictions on alcohol sales and nightlife.

Authorities have also issued advice and guidelines which they have encouraged the public to follow during celebrations to see out 2021.


Sales of alcohol at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments are banned after 10pm, while establishments must close by 11pm.

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

Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are also affected by capacity limits introduced earlier in December. 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.

READ ALSO: The Covid-19 restrictions now in effect in Denmark

Private events held at venues outside of homes must end by 11pm. This rule was ostensibly designed for events like wedding receptions and Christmas parties but could conceivably also apply at New Year.

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


During a December 22nd briefing on the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, asked the public to “avoid big celebrations on New Year’s Eve”.

“If many of you are already thinking about New Year’s Eve, I’d clearly say you should not make plans for huge celebrations,” he said.

“We are asking you to stick to seeing as few people as possible,” the senior health official added.

Last year’s assembly restrictions limited gatherings to 10 people in public places on December 31st, 2020. Those rules did not apply in private homes, but authorities asked private parties to be kept limited and amongst the same people with whom Christmas has been spent.

With no assembly limit in place at the end of 2021, Brostrøm asked New Year’s parties to be kept to as low numbers as possible.

“See few (people), keep it short, only see close family and your very closest friends for New Year’s Eve,” he said on December 22nd.

On Wednesday, Denmark’s national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute registered 23,228 new cases of Covid-19. That eclipses the previous record of 16,164, which was set on Monday.

READ ALSO: How Denmark normally celebrates New Year’s Eve (2019)

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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.