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COVID-19 RULES

What are Denmark’s current face mask rules?

Denmark updated its face mask rules in December 2021 and they will remain in place until at least January 17th.

Denmark currently has a long list of situations in which it is a requirement to wear a face mask.
Denmark currently has a long list of situations in which it is a requirement to wear a face mask. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

While authorities are currently considering tightening rules relating to the validity period of the Covid-19 health pass, the coronapas, face mask rules are set to remain unchanged for the forthcoming period.

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

Denmark’s official Covid-19 guidance website, coronasmitte.dk, was updated in January 5th in line with current face mask rules and guidelines.

Face masks must be worn on public transport including buses, trains, light rail, Metro, ferries and taxis. Tourist buses are not exempted and the rule also applies on domestic flights. Mask must also be worn at transport terminals such as bus stops, rail stations and airports.

In shops and stores, face masks must be worn by customers. This also applies for customer-facing businesses in the service sector such as hairdressers, tattoo parlours, beauty and massage clinics, solariums (if staffed), driving schools and driving test centres.

Staff on public transport and in retail and services can be exempted from face mask rules if they have a valid coronapas.

It is likewise mandatory to wear a face mask at at bars, restaurants, cafes and other businesses with a licence to serve alcohol, and at takeaway businesses. Guests may take masks off when sitting down. Nightclubs are currently closed.

Masks must also be worn in the social and health care sector, though a number of exemptions can apply. Visitors must generally wear mask if they are over 12 years old, while residents and other users of health and social facilities are not required to wear the masks, and rules do not apply in residents’ rooms. At hospitals, visitors and outpatients must wear masks.

At places of worship, face masks must be worn for normal religious services as well as marriages, funeral, christenings and other religious rites, apart from when participants are sitting down. They must be worn in all areas of the places of worship (for example, in function rooms).

Parents and visitors at schools and childcare facilities must wear face masks or visors indoors. Staff may wear visors if they so choose.

Face masks are meanwhile required for visitors, as well as students and staff at universities, language schools and other vocational and further education institutions. This only applies when moving through common areas, however, and not during classes or exams.

Hotels, as well as hostels, require guests to wear face masks when in common areas such as lobbies. At gyms, they must be worn when not working out.

Face masks must also be worn by members of the public at municipal and state administrative locations such as citizens’ service (borgerservice) desks and at ministries. Staff must wear masks if they are in public-facing roles.

In addition to the above requirements, Danish authorities also recommend face masks in a number of situations. These include when leaving isolation in order to attend a Covid test or medical appointment; in large gatherings such as demonstrations, particularly inside; if you are in an at-risk group for serious illness with Covid-19 or are not fully vaccinated; or if you are visiting someone in a risk group who is not fully vaccinated.

Some exemptions to the face mask rules apply. Children under the age of 12 do not have to wear them and exemptions can be given for certain physical or mental health conditions which make it difficult to wear a mask or visor. It may also be removed if needed to comfort a person who may be afraid of a mask or visor or needs to see the comforting person’s face.

READ ALSO: What are Denmark’s current coronapas rules?

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COVID-19 RULES

Why Danish government is considering more scope for epidemic restrictions

The Danish government must currently receive the backing of parliament before implementing major interventions in response to a public health threat such as the Covid-19 pandemic. But an evaluation by two ministries suggests they favour more flexibility on the area.

Why Danish government is considering more scope for epidemic restrictions

Under current laws, parliament must vote to approve the categorisation of a disease as a ‘critical threat’ to society (samfundskritisk).

Only when a disease or an epidemic has been categorised in this way by parliament can all  of the interventions available to the government under the epidemic law be brought into play.

In other words, the government must face parliamentary checks and controls before implementing restrictions.

Those interventions range from the most invasive, such as lockdowns and assembly limits, to less invasive, but still significant, measures such as face mask mandates and health pass requirements like those seen with the coronapas (Covid-19 health pass) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Denmark decommissions country’s Covid-19 health pass

The Ministry of Health now wants to change the existing structure within the Epidemic Law, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported on Monday.

In an evaluation, the ministry proposes a change to the rules such that requirements for things like face masks and the coronapas can be introduced for diseases that are not only in the ‘critical threat’ category, but also for those rated an almen farlig sygdom, ‘dangerous to public health’.

This would put some of the restrictions in the lower category which is not subject to parliamentary control.

The evaluation was sent by the health and justice ministries to parliament in October but has escaped wider attention until now, Jyllands-Posten writes.

In its evaluation of the epidemic law, the Justice Ministry states that there is a “large jump” between the small pool of restrictions that can be introduced against ‘dangerous to public health diseases’ and the major societal interventions the government – with parliamentary backing – can use once a disease is classed as a ‘critical threat’.

“This jump does not quite seem to correspond with the actual demand for potential restrictions against diseases dangerous to public health, which can spread while not being critical to society,” the ministry writes.

The health ministry said in the evaluation the “consideration” should be made as to whether less invasive measures should continue to pass through parliament, as is the case under the current rules.

The national organisation for municipalities, KL, has told parliament that it backs the thinking of the ministries over the issue but that parliamentary control must be retained.

The Danish Council on Ethics (Det Etiske Råd) told Jyllands-Posten that it was “very sceptical” regarding the recommendation.

“The council therefore points out that a slippery slope could result if the restrictions, interventions and options that can be brought into use with diseases that present a critical threat to society, can also be used with dangerous diseases like normal influenza,” the council said.

The minority government’s allied political parties all stated scepticism towards the proposal, in comments reported by Jyllands-Posten.

In a written comment, the health ministry told the newspaper that Health Minister Magnus Heunicke would discuss committee stage responses with the other partied before deciding on “the need for initiatives”.

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