How coronavirus could change queuing culture in Norway

Norwegians are not famous for their queuing skills, but social distancing may have forced a change in habits.

How coronavirus could change queuing culture in Norway
Photo: Halacious on Unsplash

Coronavirus restrictions may end up having the unforeseen side effect of making Norwegians more polite when it comes to queuing, according to a report by NRK.

As well as queue culture itself, the pandemic has invited people to be a little more patient, one expert on manners said.

“My clear impression is that most people have become better at waiting in line. Much of this may be down to the many reminders we are being given about how to behave. There are posters and stickers everywhere,” Reidar Helliesen told NRK.

The broadcaster reports that staff at shops, museums and schools all said they had observed a “night and day” difference in queuing etiquette before and after corona, although there were always some exceptions.

“Before, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder and almost on top of each other, but now the students respect being allowed in in groups,” Gina Strømmen, the manager of a school canteen in Skien, said to NRK.

In addition to reminders as well as social distancing rules, the situation with the virus may have encouraged people to be more considerate towards each other in general.

That could make a difference to outlast the pandemic, according to Helliesen.

“The new queuing culture creates more fairness and I think people are nicer to each other. It does something for the harmony in our bodies,” he said.

“We are basically behaving better and have a lower heart rate. The exception must be the queue at Vinmonopolet on Friday afternoons,” he added.

READ ALSO: The Norwegian habits foreigners might find strange

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What are the current rules for Covid-19 self-isolation in Norway?

Norway's government have updated the country's self-isolation rules a few time in recent weeks. The latest changes mean less people will have to quarantine after being identified as a close contact.

Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway.
These are the rules for self-isolation in Norway. Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

From Friday, January 14th, Norway’s self-isolation rules will change, and far fewer people will be required to quarantine as a result. 

“In the next few months, many will be infected, and sickness absence will be high. All companies and businesses need to prepare for it. Plans must be made to maintain the most normal operation possible in a demanding situation. The changes the government is now making in the requirements for infection quarantine will contribute to more people being able to live normally, even though there is a lot of infection in society,” Ingvil Kjerkol, health minister, said of the new rules in a government announcement.

Does the Covid variant affect the self-isolation period? 

The quarantine rules and length of time you need to self-isolate for will not change depending on which variant of Covid-19 you contract. 

Who has to quarantine? 

For obvious reasons, those who test positive for Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate. After that, those who share a household with the infected person, including flatmates who share a common kitchen and bathroom, will also need to quarantine themselves.

However, under the new rules, other close contacts will not need to self-isolate after coming into contact with somebody infected with Covid. Instead, they are asked to take tests on day’s 3 and 5 after being identified as a close contact. Furthermore, they will need to watch for symptoms for ten days and begin isolating if any signs or symptoms appear. 

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes and within two metres of somebody who tests positive for Covid is considered a close contact. 

Close contacts are typically friends, colleagues or classmates. However, contact tracing services will also consider those sitting nearby in restaurants and the like as close contacts. This applies regardless of vaccination status. 

READ ALSO: What are Norway’s Covid rules this Christmas?

How long is the isolation period? 

People who return a positive coronavirus test will need to quarantine themselves for six days starting from when they tested positive. The isolation will be a minimum of six days but will not end until the person has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine. 

Household members and partners will need to isolate themselves before testing after seven days. 

As mentioned earlier, other close contacts are no longer required to quarantine. 

If the test returns positive, then the quarantine rules will apply for those infected with the virus. 

What are the rules in quarantine? 

You will need to stay at home and only perform necessary errands that others can not do. This means you can’t go to work and you need to avoid public transport. 

You can go for a walk, but you need to distance yourself from others. 

You will also need to social distance at home, stay in a separate room and use a different bathroom if possible. You are also encouraged to frequently clean surfaces that are often touched. 

Is anybody exempt? 

There is no exemption from self-isolating as a household member or close contact if you are vaccinated. However, some groups are exempt. 

Everyone who has had Covid-19 in the previous three months can skip the isolation period. The same goes for those who have received a booster vaccine dose at least a week before coming into contact with someone with Covid. Instead, they will need to test themselves each day with a rapid home test or a PCR test carried out by a health professional every other day for seven days. 

Employees who have essential societal functions are not required to isolate, provided they test negative before starting work throughout the isolation period. 

Close contacts under 18 years of age will not need to isolate but are recommended to test for Covid-19.