Advice for events, gatherings and celebrations

Many things are different from what we are used to this year and there are restrictions on how many can be gathered. It is fortunately still possible to celebrate, mark an occasion and meet if we follow the given advice and restrictions.

Foto: Daria Petrenko / MostPhotos

​In the present situation celebrations and gatherings will differ from what we are used to.

Even if there are many restrictions, it is possible to get together both at home and outside of home for celebrations, occasions to be marked or if we want to gather for private events.

Some might wonder how many people can be together, how to go about serving food at private events and whether grandparents can spend time with their grandchildren. In this article we have summarized the advice and present answers to some of the questions that you may have. 

The advice for infection control are still important

The following three key advice for preventing transmission are still important and are also valid for events, celebrations and other gatherings:

  • Stay at home and avoid having people visit if you are ill
  • Keep a distance of at least one metre to others than those who are part of your household or those who are closest to you
  • Practice good hand hygiene with frequent and thorough washing or apply an alcohol-based disinfectant.

It is up to you to define who «your closest» refers to, but they should not be too many and they should remain the same persons over time. For most people it would be those you live with, a boyfriend or girlfriend or next of kin. For others it might be their closest friend.

Many people stock up on groceries just prior to long-weekends and peak travel days. Remember that you should still keep a distance of at least one metre to others in the store and maintain good hand hygiene. A good advice would be to go shopping at times when there are fewer persons in the store, if possible.

​How many can be gathered for celebrations and events?

How many can be present at events and other gatherings will depend on whether the event is held on private property or public places. Events in public places require a responsible organizer.

Up to 20 persons can be gathered for a private event, provided a distance of at least one metre between guests who are not part of the same household. Each person counts as one, even if you are a part of the same family. Do not invite more people than you have room for and make it easy for your guests to keep a distance. See more detailed information and recommendations for kids birthday parties.

It can be easier to keep a distance outdoors rather than indoors.

For events in public places up to 200 people can be gathered, provided that a responsible organiser can be held accountable. Employees or contractors responsible for the public event are not counted as part of the event. It must be feasible for all participants to keep a minimum distance of one metre to those they do not live with in the same household. The organiser is responsible for making sure there is enough space for all participants to keep a distance of at least one metre and to keep an overview of who is present. The same applies to events in premises that you can rent, including in hotels, community centers, conference rooms and halls.

What is considered as an event and a public place?

An event refers to a concert, seminar, trade fair, temporary market, birthday party, wedding, funeral, religious meeting etc. A flea market to raise money for a voluntary organization is not included.

A public place refers to a place intended for public access or a place that the public frequent.

The Government has provided answers to several questions related to events and the closing of some businesses. You can read these questions and answers at regjeringen.no (in Norwegian).

Who is considered as the responsible organiser when a venue is rented?

The key aspect is to appoint a responsible organizer that the police and health authorities can relate to, and that will be able to handle the task. This can be the person renting (lessee) or the one person renting out (lessor).

At a private event, it will be natural that the person renting the venue is the responsible organiser, but arrangements can also be made for the lessor to handle parts of or the overall task. For practical reasons, it will probably be best if the person renting keeps an overview of who is present and passes information on infection control on to those invited.

When renting a restaurant or conference room where the restaurant or the hotel takes care of the practical side of the event, it might be more natural for the owner of the entity (lessor) to be responsible for meeting the requirements for infection control.

If you rent a venue without a clear agreement with the lessor as to who is the responsible organiser, you yourself as the lessee will easily be held accountable.

Read more about the recommendations for public events at the Norwegian Directorate of Health (in Norwegian).

For further information, read the questions and answer on events from the government (in Norwegian).

Who can be invited as guests?

If you are healthy you can receive visits from guests who are healthy.
Make it easy for your guests to wash their hands, both when they arrive and during the visit. Having paper towels or additional towels available is a good idea. You may also want to have alcohol-based disinfectants available.

Grandparents or other guests above the age of 65 can also visit.
Those who are part of a high-risk group for covid-19 should take extra care to follow the advice on hand hygiene and social distancing. Read more about advice for risk groups here.

If possible, meeting up outdoors rather than indoors as it will be easier to maintain a distance of at least one metre to others outdoors. We now must avoid hugging others than those we live with in the same household or those closest to us.

When someone stays overnight at your place, you should all pay extra attention to the hygiene measures and remember to keep a distance. Overnight stays involve a higher risk of transmission than shorter visits during the daytime. During an overnight stay, guests and hosts will often share bathroom, touch the same surfaces and it will be more challenging to keep a distance.

​Tips for preparing and serving food

There is no indication so far of transmission of the coronavirus via food or drinking water. Good hand hygiene will prevent transmission. It is therefore – as always – important that those preparing the food keep a good hand hygiene with thorough and frequent washing. It is also important that those preparing the food are healthy. The same goes for the guests, they should be healthy and wash hands prior to the meal. The guests can use the same serving tools, but everyone needs to use their own cutlery. Avoid finger food.

If you want further information about food and drink, read more at the website of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

​Can we go to a restaurant?

You can enjoy eating at a restaurant if you keep a distance of at least a metre to others and wash your hands prior to the meal. The restaurant you are visiting is responsible for making his possible. Those living in the same household are not required to keep a distance of one metre.

​Can I travel by public transport when going for a visit?

The aim is to avoid too many people to gather closely in the same location. You should therefore avoid travelling during rush hour if possible. Prior to boarding you should also consider whether it will be possible for you to keep a distance of at least one metre to other passengers except those who live in the same household as you. If crowded, consider whether you can wait for the next departure. Walking, travelling by bike or by using your own car is a good idea, if possible.

Read more about advice for public transport here.