Iceland Begins Reopening Bars and Concert, Theater Venues

Iceland has begun the process of reopening its society, making it one of the first in Europe to do so, the Financial Times reported. Earlier this week, this island-country reopened bars and gyms for individuals and it plans to soon allow people to attend concerts, theater performances and religious services.

The Financial Times notes that, according to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Iceland is the only country in Europe that is rated fully “green.” This means Iceland has a COVID-19 positivity rate under 4 percent. Iceland’s ability to retain the low positivity rate, according to experts as reported by the Financial Times, can be attributed to its “relative isolation,” as well as its “widespread testing and data analysis to track the spread of the virus” and its testing and quarantining of all arrivals.

Iceland’s chief epidemiologist said that the low rate does not mean the country has fully eliminated the virus in the community, meaning “we need to proceed carefully.”

So, here’s what locals and travelers can expect: Under the new regulations, bars are now allowed to open until 10 p.m. each night. Cafés and restaurants have already been opened. The limits for indoor arts performances and religious services were increased from 100 to 150 people.

All arriving passengers are obligated to undergo two tests for the detection of COVID-19 after arrival in Iceland with a quarantine between tests. The first test is at the border and the second one five days later. The quarantine is lifted when a negative result (virus not detected) is obtained from the second testing. Those who have confirmed with PCR-testing or antibody testing from an E.U./ European Free Trade Association state that they have previously had a COVID-19 infection are exempt from quarantine. All those who present a valid international vaccination certificate for full vaccination with an approved vaccine against COVID-19 are exempt.

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