the danish health authorities

Agreement on the next phase of the controlled reopening

Published 14-08-2020

The Government (the Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokratiet)) and the Liberal Party of Denmark (Venstre), the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti), the Social Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre), the Socialist People's Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Conservative People's Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti), the New Right (Nye Borgelige), the Liberal Alliance and the Alternative (Alternativet) have agreed on the following principles and initiatives.

The spread of coronavirus must be contained at a low level, not least to protect vulnerable groups in society as much as possible, and as a country we need to overcome the economic problems caused by the health crisis in order to restore economic growth and create new jobs. 

The parties have agreed to maintain focus on general prevention to reduce the risk of infection (distance, handwashing, cleaning etc.) and that crucial elements of the general strategy are testing, tracking and tracing of outbreaks and self-isolation, and that infection outbreaks must be managed locally before they spread. The aim is to avoid future national lock-downs with serious economic and human consequences.

Based on advice from the health authorities, the parties to the agreement have agreed to postpone elements of the phase four reopening, see the Agreement on reopening plan for the Danish society, until 31 October 2020. 

The parties to the agreement have noted the following circumstances:

  • Educational institutions and indoor sports and recreational facilities etc. covered by phase four according to the Agreement on reopening plan for the Danish society have already reopened.
  • According to an assessment made by the SSI (Statens Serum Institut), the epidemic curve for Denmark is showing an increasing number of local infection outbreaks.
  • On 6 August 2020, the SSI performed a qualitative risk assessment of discotheques, music venues and night life as well as large gatherings.
  • Ongoing efforts are made to optimise the impact of measures and ensure sufficient capacity for testing, tracking and tracing outbreaks and self-isolation. To this end, the Government will set up additional laboratory facilities in Western Denmark operated by Testing Centre Denmark (TestCenter Danmark) to reduce the transportation and response times when testing. It is a clear target that 80 per cent must have access to COVID-19 testing within 24 hours and that 80 per cent will receive a test response the day after the test.
  • The reproduction number differs greatly from one geographic area to another and from one population group to another and changes over time. The authorities must therefore focus on swift and targeted intervention to break chains of infection among particular population groups with high statistical prevalence at any point in time. To break chains of infection, the authorities carry out targeted information campaigns, preventive measures and risk-based spot checks in accordance with the principle of proportionality to monitor whether the recommendation of the health authorities on self-isolation is observed. If the recommendation on self-isolation is not observed, steps can be taken to isolate the persons infected by issuing directions under the applicable legislation.
  • The Government expects the use of face masks to increase across the Danish society and become more uniform, and the Government will continuously focus on the circumstance that the requirement to use face masks may constitute a financial challenge for certain population groups.
  • To clamp down on local disease outbreaks, necessary local measures must be launched, including the use of face masks, home working, and the lock-down of social activities. One of the criteria for launching local initiatives is an incidence exceeding 20 per 100,000 inhabitants within the past seven days. In this connection, local conditions must be taken into account.

The parties to the agreement moreover agree on the following:

  • Venues such as nightclubs and discotheques (that is, venues with few seats, a dance floor etc.) must stay closed until 31 October 2020. If a venue that used to be a nightclub etc. operated in compliance with the rules applicable in that field can alter the layout of the venue and the activities performed to comply with the rules applicable to restaurants, bars etc., the venue can open on the same conditions as the latter.
  • The opening hours permitted for restaurants, bars, cafes etc. with the required licences will be extended to 2.00 am on the condition that no new guests are allowed in after 11.00 pm.
  • The ban on gatherings of more than 100 people is extended until 31 October 2020, but the parties to the agreement will assess by the end of September 2020 whether there is a basis for an earlier easing of the ban on gatherings.
  • The ban on gatherings of more than 500 people is extended until 31 October 2020.
  • A ban is imposed on gatherings of more than 200 at outdoor burial and funeral services.
  • A number of general requirements are fixed to contain the disease, including a ban on gatherings and requirements for premises open to the public.
  • These requirements are basically upheld. Moreover, premises used as music venues with a standing audience are currently closed. Gatherings of more than 500 people at the same location at Super League football matches have already been allowed. The Minister for Industry, Business and Financial
  • Affairs and the Minister for Culture will involve the relevant sector partnerships and the parties to the agreement to identify whether it is safe from a public health perspective to include in the reopening more music venues, professional sports events and sports activities for the general public, cultural events, including theatre plays, concerts, cinemas, TV productions etc., and trade fair and exhibition venues.
  • The sector partnerships are urged to review the existing guidelines and adapt them as required.

In consequence of the above, some elements of the business, cultural and sports sectors will be given better opportunities to return to a more normal situation. However, a consequence of the ongoing lock-downs and bans on gatherings etc. is that other players in the business, cultural and sports sectors will become extraordinarily badly affected.

In light of this situation, the parties to the agreement have agreed to commence negotiations with the political ambition to improve the support offered to enterprises etc., including subcontractors, which are extraordinarily badly affected by the postponed reopening. Those affected include enterprises suffering from the following COVID-19-related restrictions:

  • Ban on staying open
  • Ban on gatherings (of more than 500 people)
  • Closing of borders
  • Travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The parties to the agreement have agreed that there is a need for the payment of compensation to the enterprises affected as long as the business, cultural and sports sectors are subject to restrictions imposed by the authorities due to COVID-19.

However, this initiative is subject to the condition that the schemes can be approved for state aid. The actual implementation of the schemes will be negotiated by the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs with the involvement of the Ministry of Culture.

The parties have noted that the Government will look at the possibilities of allowing for regional differences in the travel advice and that the Government will remove the requirement that foreign tourists must stay six nights in Denmark. Accordingly, the Government will ensure an ongoing adaptation of the COVID-19 measures at the Danish borders to accommodate the needs of people travelling in the border regions.

The Government and the parties will meet regularly in future when necessary, including in case of a significant change in the prevalence of the disease in the Danish society.