Despite much-touted claims to the contrary, no restaurant or café in Iceland has been able to allow pets in their establishments, as they cannot fulfill government requirements.
Last October, in one of her last acts as Minister for the Environment, Björt Ólafsdóttir announced that pets would from then on would be allowed in restaurants and cafés. Iceland received considerable international attention due to this news, but it has now come to light that no restaurant nor any café in Iceland has been able to allow pets in their establishments, as they cannot fulfill the requirements.
As reported, owners of restaurants and cafés who wanted to allow pets would have to announce this intention, and put a sign up letting costumers know that pets are allowed. MBL reached out to the Health Supervisory Authority to ask how many establishments had announced such an intention. In response, the Authority said that exactly one restaurant had done so, but then withdrew this announcement, as they could not meet the requirements outlined in the new regulations.
Amongst these new requirements is that only cats and dogs would be allowed, but not where food is handled, processed or stored. The Authority also says there are detailed regulations for establishment employees.
Numerous restaurant and café owners that MBL spoke with frequently used the phrase “poorly executed” to describe these regulations. Some have gone so far as to draw up tentative plans for renovating their establishments in order to have special sections for pets. All of them have expressed the desire to allow pets, but cannot.
As such, it will be a while yet before you see pet-friendly cafés and restaurants in Iceland.