Norway bans booze in bars as omicron cases rise
Norway has banned the sale of alcohol in hospitality venues in the face of the omicron Covid-19 variant.
From today (15 December), the Norweigan on-trade is prohibited from selling booze for at least four weeks.
Prime minister Jonas Gahr Stoere announced the measure on Monday 13 December as part of a new package to protect against the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Norway has the most confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Europe, with 1,176 reported as of 14 December.
“For many this will feel like a lockdown, if not of society then of their lives and of their livelihoods,” Stoere said.
“The situation is serious. The spread of infection is too high and we have to take action to limit this development.”
A number of countries have increased precautions against Covid-19 recently. Yesterday (14 December) the English government voted to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs; Ireland also upped its restrictions in hospitality venues, including limiting bars and restaurants to table service.
The spirits sector has been grappling with alcohol bans in several countries due to the pandemic. In South Africa total alcohol bans have been intermittently enacted since March 2020. The Japanese trade also faced the prohibition of alcohol in bars and restaurants during the Tokyo Olympics.