3 April: The City of Oslo has asked the Government to allow food shops and pharmacies to stay open during Easter
Press release: «Everyone in Oslo will have to stay at home during Easter, so there will be a lot of pressure on the food shops during the holiday, which can in turn increase the risk of spreading the coronavirus. In line with advice from the Head physician of infection control, the City of Oslo has applied to the National Government to suspend regulations for retail opening hours, so that food shops and pharmacies can stay open as on normal weekdays throughout Easter», said the Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour).
Note: Information about measures taken against the spread of the Corona virus is changed on an ongoing basis. This means that the information in the press release may be outdated. You will find updated information on the web page Corona virus: Information on the Corona virus and measures that have been implemented in the city of Oslo.
Since 28 February, the City government has been on emergency alert, and since 11 March this has been at the highest level. The City officials release updates about steps taken to prevent further spreading of the Coronavirus.
The City of Oslo has applied for food shops and pharmacies to stay open throughout Easter
On Friday 3 April, the City of Oslo sent a request to the County Governor in Oslo and Viken, asking to suspend legal restrictions on trading hours during public and religious holidays. See the application for dispensation from the Religious Holidays Restrictions Act, §5 (PDF 0,5MB). The City of Oslo is asking for food-shops and pharmacies to be allowed to stay open over Easter, as on normal weekdays, but will not oblige them to keep trading. Shops can also have limited opening hours. If the request is approved, then food shops and pharmacies will be able to stay open on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday. In addition, the City of Oslo has asked for regulations to be suspended so that shops can stay open until late on Easter Saturday.
Raymond Johansen continues, «Nearly 700,000 residents will be at home during Easter, in a city which has one of the highest levels of infections in Norway. The City of Oslo’s Head physician of infection control has therefore recommended that we apply for a general suspension of restrictions for opening hours during Easter, so that people’s shopping will be spread more evenly over the holidays. At the same time, I fully understand that this will put extra pressure on those employees who have already been working heroically during this crisis. »
«Normally, a large number of Oslo’s residents would be in their cottages during the Easter week, often in small villages where shops stay open throughout the holidays. Now everyone in Oslo will stay at home, and will be doing their shopping here. Because of this, we believe it would be unwise to let only the smallest shops stay open, as this would risk overcrowding, as well as panic buying before the holidays start.»
The request from the City of Oslo applies to Thursday, Friday, Saturday (late opening) and Monday. On Easter Sunday the shops will stay closed as usual. The sale of alcohol will not be affected by suspending the restrictions on opening hours, so that alcohol will not be sold during the public holidays.
The Governing Mayor said, «The employees in food shops have done a wonderful job and made a huge effort to help provide food for us all during the crisis. They deserve special recognition for that. I am fully aware that working during Easter could be an extra burden, so I hope that the shops will be able to recruit extra staff to share the workload.»
Whether or not Oslo’s request gets approval, the Governing Mayor appeals strongly to everyone in Oslo:
«There is no reason to delay your shopping until the last weekday of the Easter break. Make use of all the coming days to buy what you need, so that we avoid everyone going to the shops at the same time. The shops are open from early morning until late in the evening, and households should make use of all opening hours to avoid causing a rush.»