From Iceland — Iceland Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions: What You Can And Cannot Do

Iceland Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions: What You Can And Cannot Do

Published May 4, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The restrictions which the Icelandic government put in place at the start of the coronavirus outbreak have been relaxed in part, effective today. So what is and what isn’t allowed?

As can be seen on, active infections in Iceland peaked on April 5th, with 1,096 active infections on that day. Active infections decreased steadily since then, and as of May 2nd, there are now only 72 active infections in the country. Iceland’s fast response, measures taken, and community reaction have demonstrably had an impact. This has included certain restrictions pertaining to travel and public gatherings.

Today, some of those restrictions are being relaxed, but we are not out of the woods yet. It’s important to know what is and is not allowed.

Public gathering limit goes from 20 to 50

The public gatherings ban, while still in effect, has been broadened to accommodate 50 people instead of 20. This applies to pretty much everywhere people come together en masse: conferences, galleries, movies, churches and so forth. Expect more restaurants and cafés to be open, albeit with the “two metre rule” still in place—tables will be spaced two metres apart, so even if an establishment has not quite reached 50 people, seating may be limited.

Shops that are over 1,000 square metres can allow for up to 100 people to come in, and an additional customer permitted for every additional ten square metres over 1,000, to a maximum of 200.

The two-metre rule

People are still being asked to maintain a distance of two metres between one another. Interestingly, the one exception to this will be the municipal bus service. People can sit closer than two metres together on the bus, but they will still have to board from the side door; not the front.

People will also be permitted to once again get haircuts, go to their physical therapists, visit dentists and doctors, and get a massage.

While schools and afterschool centres are open full time to children again, parents are asked to not enter these buildings.

Gyms and pools still closed

Nightclubs, gyms, and public pools will remain closed for the time being, and restaurants that have liquor licenses will have to close at 23:00.

Sporting events will be permitted, provided that there is no live audience and two metres between athletes can be observed. Children are the exception to this rule.


People are encouraged to continue washing their hands and sanitising them, and those places which are open to the public are strongly advised to have hand sanitiser readily available to everyone. This is particularly the case at places that have cash registers.

For outdoor touristy activities, whether group tours or camping, a four metre distancing rule is being advised.

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