Winter holiday: The dos and don’ts of ‘vinterferie’ in Norway during the pandemic

Winter holiday (vinterferie) in is just around the corner in Norway, and the government says it will not prevent people from going on holiday within the country. Here are the recommendations and rules you need know about.

Winter holiday: The dos and don’ts of 'vinterferie' in Norway during the pandemic
Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Schoolchildren and their parents and grandparents are now beginning to plan their winter holidays at the end of February and early March. Minister of Health Bent Høie on Friday stressed that while they are welcome to make plans for trips in Norway, either to their cabin or a hotel, people should avoid international travel.

“It would be a violation of our travel recommendations to go abroad during the holiday,” Høie said at a press conference about the Covid-19 pandemic Friday.

“The risk is too high. Both in regards to catching the virus, but also due to changing restrictions in countries you are visiting and your chances of being able to return,” he added.

Norway is currently advising against international travel until April 15th.

READ ALSO: Norway advises against all foreign travel until after Easter

The minister also emphasised that people who do decide to go on holiday in Norway, should take extra precautions, maintain social distancing and avoid public transport. People are also advised to do their grocery shopping in the municipality where they live permanently.

The government has published a list of pointers and recommendations for people planning on travelling in Norway during the winter holiday:

  • Stay home if you suspect you may be ill. Get tested as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been infected with coronavirus.
  • Be prepared to change your plans in case of local outbreaks, either near your home or in the area you are planning on visiting.
  • Avoid public transport.
  • Be prepared that you may have to quarantine if a coronavirus outbreak happens at the hotel you are staying at. Maintain social distance to other guests and adhere to the hotel’s measures and restrictions.
  • If the measures in your home municipality are stricter than in the municipality you are visiting, you should adhere to the measures of your home municipality.
  • Minimise social contact.
  • Do not receive more than five guests in your home or cabin. Try to socialise outdoors. Minimise the number of guests that spend the night.
  • Do your grocery shopping in your home municipality before departure.
  • Avoid crowded places where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
  • Try to choose outdoors activities if possible.
  • Wash your hands often.

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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.