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Norway announces abrupt reopening

Fans flocked back to Norwegian football stadiums and live events over the weekend after all restrictions related to COVID-19 were lifted across the country.

The Government’s sudden directive to lift all measures, including capacity limits and social distancing, caught many organisations and businesses by surprise.

Prime Minister Erna Solberb said: “It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime. Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

The abrupt announcement led to scores of arrests across some of Norway’s major cities as revellers seemingly made up for lost time at live entertainment venues and nightclubs, although no such incidents were reported in relation to the country’s Eliteserien matches.

Norway had been on the cusp of completing a four-stage journey to full reopening for several months, only to pause the process due to fears over COVID-19 case numbers.

Until Saturday, a limit of 10,000 attendees had been in place at stadiums.

“This is really a big day for football, for which we and our supporters have been for a long time,” Leif Øverland, CEO of Norsk Toppfotball, said.

“Both clubs and supporters have been incredibly patient and adaptable, but now it is the full reopening of football that is in focus.”

On September 10, Scandinavian neighbour Denmark lifted its own restrictions.

Image: Kongsvinger Kommune (CC by 2.0) Edited for size