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LIVING IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in February 2022?

Coronavirus restrictions and travel rules are among the changes which will affect life in Denmark in February.

Hailstones in Denmark in February 2020. The country will lift its Covid-19 restrictions in February 2022.
Hailstones in Denmark in February 2020. The country will lift its Covid-19 restrictions in February 2022. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

No Covid-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated persons

A small number of Covid-19 travel restrictions will be retained in February but these will not apply to people vaccinated against the virus.

People who can document vaccination with an EU approved vaccine, or who have been previously infected with Covid-19, will no longer have to take a test or quarantine on entering Denmark regardless of where in the world they are travelling from, the government recently announced.

For travel to Denmark from EU or Schengen countries, people who are neither vaccinated nor previously infected must take a test for Covid-19 no more than 24 hours following entry, or may alternatively take a test prior to travel.

Unvaccinated people with no infection history travelling from outside the EU and Schengen area are affected by different rules depending on whether they are travelling from what Denmark categorises a “risk” or “high risk” country.

Full details of how the rules will change can be found here.

Domestic restrictions to be lifted on February 1st

All domestic restrictions, including the use of a vaccine pass, mask-wearing and early closings for bars and restaurants, are to be lifted on February 1st.

A coronapas has been required since late last year at bars and restaurants among other settings, while face mask rules have been in place in stores, on public transport and in health and social care settings.

The decision was announced by the government last week despite high infection rates, with falling ICU patient numbers, high vaccine uptake and the milder Omicron variant forming the background of the decision.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s Covid-19 rules for close contacts and ‘other’ contacts

Restrictions on alcohol sales to end a few hours early

If you want to celebrate the end of restrictions with a late drink, it will be possible to do so the day before the change takes full effect.

With general Covid restrictions scheduled to be lifted on February 1st, the government has brought forward the end of the restrictions on bars by a few hours.

The decision was made to avoid a situation in which bars would have had to close at 11pm on January 31st, only to open again an hour later following the cut-off point for the outgoing restrictions.

Alcohol may also be sold after 10pm from January 31st, including in stores.

Covid-19 sick leave compensation could end

Increased sick days taken by staff at Danish companies, related to the country’s current high rate of Covid-19 infections and self-isolation rules, are currently eligible for special compensation under a deal reached by the government and the labour market late last year.

Under normal Danish sick leave rules, companies must pay up to the first 30 days of sick pay for staff. The current special provision allows companies to apply for reimbursement for this.

A criterion for the compensation is that the staff member in question is unable to work from home.

The agreement is set to expire on February 28th 2022. It will be reviewed close to this time to assess whether an extension is needed.

Return to ‘normal life’ in sight?

At the beginning of January, the head of department and senior consultant at the State Serum Institute (SSI), Tyra Grove Krause, said that she expected the current wave of Covid-19 infections in Denmark, driven by the dominant Omicron variant, to peak in coming weeks before drop in infections in February.

“Omicron will peak at the end of January, and February will see falling infection numbers and a reduction in strain on the health system. But we must make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through,” she said in an interview.

“I think (Covid-19) will have the next two months and after that I hope that infections will begin to pare back and we will get our normal lives back,” she also said.

Although there is little sign of infection numbers flattening at the time of writing, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen spoke of a return to “life as we knew it” after announcing the end of Covid restrictions last week.

“We are saying farewell to the restrictions and welcome to life as we knew it before corona,” Frederiksen told a press conference.

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WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes about life in Denmark in May 2022

The tax return deadline, more public holidays and thousands of runners returning to the streets of Copenhagen are among the things to expect in Denmark in May.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes about life in Denmark in May 2022

Deadline for making changes to tax returns 

If you haven’t yet done so, now’s the time to log on to tax website skat.dk and check your annual return or årsopgørelse.

Tax returns are published by tax authorities each March and taxpayers have until May 1st to check their details – relating to earnings, tax payments and deductions – are correct. In some cases, making sure you have the right information on your tax return can mean you get a tax rebate.

The tax authorities have in recent years asked taxpayers to pay particular attention to their commuter deduction or kørselsfradrag information, after the method for entering this on the return became more manual as home working increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. But all information can be checked and updated on the online return up to May 1st.

READ ALSO:

Switch to summer tyres (if you haven’t already)

Alternating between winter and summer tyres is not a legal requirement in Denmark, but is broadly recommended, including by FDM, the Danish membership organisation for motorists.

Neighbouring SwedenNorway and Germany – where many Danish residents head on skiing and other holidays during the colder months – all have rules requiring winter tyres, meanwhile, meaning the practice is common in Denmark, not least for those who may need to take their cars over the border.

Most people switch back to summer tyres at Easter, which this year fell on April 17th. But the week leading up to Easter was cold for the time of year with some frosts in the mornings, so some car owners may have held out a little longer.

More about the practice of using winter and summer tyres in Denmark can be found in this article.

Public holidays

Following on from Easter, we’re still in boom season for public holidays in Denmark.

Great Prayer Day or Store Bededag gives a long weekend starting Friday May 13th, while Ascension Day, Kristi Himmelfartsdag in Danish, is less than two weeks later on Thursday May 26th.

Many Danes take the Friday after Ascension Day as annual leave, giving them a four-day weekend at the cost of only one day of leave.

READ ALSO: What public holidays does Denmark have in 2022?

Look out for extension of border controls

Temporary border controls in place in Denmark since 2016 are currently scheduled to expire on May 11th but will be extended if past practice is basis for prediction.

First introduced in January 2016 in response to the European refugee crisis of late 2015, Denmark’s border controls have remained in place since through regular extensions. The checks generally consist of spot checks at border crossing.

EU countries which are part of the Schengen agreement, like Denmark, are permitted to introduce border controls if these are deemed necessary to protect internal security. The Danish government cited the treat of Islamist terrorism and organised crime in its justification for retaining the controls when they were most recently extended in October.

The controls can be extended for a maximum of six months. As such, they are still considered to be temporary even though they have now been in place for over six years.

Controls at borders undertaken as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are no longer in place, so all checks are security related.

Return of Copenhagen Marathon

After a three-year absence caused by consecutive cancellations due to Covid-19, the 41st edition of the Copenhagen Marathon takes place on May 15th.

The 42.2-kilometre route through the Danish capital starts and finishes by the harbour at Islands Brygge and takes in each of the central districts: Vesterbro, the Inner City, Østerbro, Frederiksberg and Nørrebro.

There’s usually a great energy along the route. I’d recommend either Nørrebrogade near Dronning Louises Bro (Bridge) or Islands Brygge as the best spots to take in the atmosphere.

New parking rules take effect

Municipal parking rules change on May 1st and it’s worth being aware of these to avoid an unwanted yellow ticket on your windscreen.

The new rules mean that municipalities can now issue fines for cars parked on areas that divide roads with bicycle lanes and pavements (sidewalks). This broadens existing rules against parking on pavements, either completely or partially.

Sometimes the ‘reservation’ or grassy or gravel area between a road and the cycle lane (or pavement) might be wide enough for a car, or part of one, and could be used for parking on. This is no longer permitted, motorists’ organisation FDM writes.

A ticket for breaching the new parking regulations will set you back 510 kroner.

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