From Iceland — When And How Will Iceland Change Its Travel Restrictions?

When And How Will Iceland Change Its Travel Restrictions?

Published May 12, 2020

Photo by
Arpingstone / Wikimedia Commons

The question on everyone’s lips: when can I finally travel to Iceland? How long before I’m in sitting in a Reykjavík coffee house, nibbling on a chocolate-coated snúður and planning a trip to Snæfellsnes?

Note: Since this article was published new information about Iceland’s travel restrictions has been released – read the full story here. Major changes are expected between May 25th and June 15th.

Well, we hate to break it to you, but we don’t have a definitive answer. The public health authorities are currently reluctant to release any firm plan for loosening travel restrictions. Here are the latest indications of when and how travel might resume:

What are the existing travel restrictions?

In case you missed them:

  • No travel into the Iceland from regions outside the Schengen area, EFTA countries and the UK
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people arriving in Iceland, regardless of origin

When will restrictions be lifted?

Quarantine rules and travel restrictions are due to be reassessed by May 15th. However, chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has made it clear that the measures will not be changed on this date.

What might happen next?

According to Þórólfur, experts are currently investigating the ways Iceland can change travel restrictions in June without risking a second wave of infection, RUV reports. Several different scenarios are being considered:

  • Screening people when they arrive in Iceland
  • Allowing quarantine exemptions for people who have recovered from the virus, or have tested negative for the virus immediately before travelling
  • Eliminating restrictions for arrivals from Greenland and the Faroe Islands where there are currently no known active infections
  • Making travel between Nordic nations easier

All these possibilities will have to be thoroughly assessed by medical experts before they are introduced. Although Iceland’s COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly declining, all travel-related decisions are dependent on how other countries manage the virus.

How to travel to Iceland before June

As reported, the government has once again renewed its agreement with Icelandair to ensure that regular flights continue between Keflavik and three key locations: Stockholm, Boston and London. If you have flights booked, it’s always worth checking your email and the airline’s website as flights can be cancelled at very short notice.

On landing in the country you will be required to fill out a Public Health Passenger Locator form. This will provide authorities with information regarding where you intend to stay and what support you’ve organised. Finding somewhere to quarantine may be difficult. If you plan to stay in a hotel make sure you find out about their quarantine policy first.

It’s worth noting that travelling from the airport to Reykjavik may also prove difficult. The authorities advise that you organise for a friends or relatives drive two cars to Keflavik, leaving one for you to drive home. Flybus has cancelled all airport transfers, but Airport Direct is still operating but on a greatly reduced schedule.

The government’s advice about travel restrictions is available here and the covid.is website will be updated as soon as any changes occur.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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