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Denmark cuts social distancing rules, eases restrictions as part of timeline to get back to normal


Borders to remain closed

A sign informing customers on measurements to prevent from being infected stands in a shop Monday in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Denmark has been easing the coronavirus restrictions nationwide and has seen a marked drop in infection rates. So now the Scandinavian country is planning to slash its social distancing rules.

The Danish government announced last week a timetable to get back to "everyday life," as Forbes reported.

In the wake of the government's published timetable, the Danish Health Authority said Sunday that it was cutting social distancing rules in half in public areas from two meters (six feet) to one meter (three feet), the New York Post said.

The Danish Health Authority declared in a news release that "a minimum of 1 meter is sufficient," the Post noted.

What is the timetable?

Denmark's new guidelines began going into effect Monday, with the opening of shops and shopping malls and outdoor fitness activities, and the restarting of professional sports sans spectators, according to the Copenhagen Post.

On May 18, restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs can reopen, but with some restrictions.

Schools also will be permitted to reopen for teenagers — daycares and elementary schools began reopening in the second week of April — but local authorities will have final say, the Post said.

Also included in the May 18 openings are libraries, safari parks, and churches.

However, the government said the borders will remain closed until at least June 1. From Forbes:

Denmark shuttered its international border to non-residents in mid-March, with Norway following suit just days later. While airports remain open in both countries, only citizens and residents are permitted to enter. Some exceptions are possible, but international tourism has essentially been banned for almost two months.

That seems set to continue. Many in the travel industry are preparing for a summer season focused almost entirely on domestic tourism.

Denmark's prime minister said the reopening of borders to non-residents is not top of the priority list. "A border opening can mean that many people come to Denmark. It may help to move the infection in a negative direction. Of course, the borders must also be seen in the context of what is happening in the countries around us," said Mette Fredriksen according to Politiken.

Denmark began easing some restrictions in mid-April and never saw an acceleration in the spread of the virus. In fact, as Forbes reported, Denmark saw infection rates drop quickly over recent weeks.

Denmark has confirmed more than 10,500 cases of COVID-19 with at least 533 deaths as of Monday morning.

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