30 april: Alcohol can be served from Wednesday 6 May

Press release: Today the City Government has agreed to lift the ban on serving alcohol, starting 6 May

Read this press release in Norwegian

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 This means that the information in the press release may be outdated.

Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour) says, "I would like to thank the pubs and restaurants in Oslo for your important contribution in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The measures in Oslo have given results, so we have gradually started to re-open parts of our society. This means that we will lift the ban on serving alcohol, starting 6 May. At the same time, all premises must follow the strict rules to ensure that the infection-prevention measures are upheld.”

The ban on serving alcohol was introduced on 21 March, because some of the pubs and restaurants were not able to keep to the infection-prevention rules, such as social distancing. At that time about 90 percent of all premises with alcohol licences were already closed, as a result of the national infection-prevention rules that came on 12 March.

The experiences from the first weeks after the outbreak of the coronavirus showed that it was hard to stick to the infection-prevention rules in combination with serving alcohol. That is why the City of Oslo created a working group, together with employers organisations, trade unions and other stakeholders, which has suggested useful guidelines for re-opening.

̎We have collaborated closely with the sector, to produce some simple and clear guidelines which businesses can use. Today the City Government has approved new regulations and sent guidelines to the pubs and restaurants ̎, said Vice Mayor for Business Development and Public Ownership, Victoria Marie Evensen (Labour).

Lifting the ban on serving alcohol must be carried out without increasing the risk of infection. To achieve this, there are therefore clear and simple rules for pubs and restaurants. These will also allow the City of Oslo to check what is happening, to provide guidance and to act in cases where the rules are broken.

Here are the rules for serving alcohol in pubs and licenced restaurants in line with the national regulations for covid-19 and the City of Oslo’s local regulations to prevent the spread of infection.

National requirements for pubs and restaurants:

  • Food shall be served
  • Buffetservice for food is forbidden
  • Basic rules for preventing infection apply
  • Routines for good hygiene and cleanliness must be written and followed up.
  • All visitors and staff must stay two metres apart.

City requirements for pubs and restaurants:

  • Only vendors who are registered at the Agency for Food and Alcohol Licensing and Inspections can serve alcohol
  • A risk assessment for infection prevention must be produced
  • Serving at tables only
  • No groups of more than five people are allowed together, unless they are from the same household
  • Groups of guests must keep at least 2 metres distance, or else be separated in a way that gives at least as good protection (e.g.: separating screen)
  • Pubs and restaurants should enable, as far as practically possible, all guests to keep a distance of at least one metre apart
  • Serving is allowed until 23.30, and closing time at 24.00.

The Government has approved national rules («covid-19 regulations»), independently from the City of Oslo. They state, among other things, that all pubs and restaurants which stay open must serve food. The gradual lifting of the ban on serving does not apply for vendors where food is not served. If food is not served, the premises must stay closed.

Evensen commented, "The City of Oslo follows the definition that is given in the Licencing Law, which requires food to be served and that food can be eaten on the premises. Beyond that, it is up to the vendor to decide what kind of food to serve and if the food is prepared in their own kitchen, by a catering company of from a nearby food-truck. We do not require guests to eat or that food is served right up to closing time. The most important thing is that pubs and restaurants stick to rules to prevent infection."

Press contact

media@byr.oslo.kommune.no / +47 99 28 90 90 (not SMS)

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