Wednesday, May 18

Støre did not keep the «meter» on the bar

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In photos from a party meeting at a bar on Wednesday night in Tromsø, Støre is seen in eager conversations with other guests. And the distance between them is significantly less than one meter.

Tuesday both Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol pointed out that the meter should still apply as a recommendation. Keeping distance was the most important factor in avoiding the spread of infection, they said.

Continuing the recommendation of a meter distance was also advice from the health authorities.

But when the Troms Labor Party invited to the event “Pub and politics” on Wednesday night, the recommendation was broken by the boss himself.

To VG, Støre answers that it is not so dangerous if you lean against someone and get closer than a meter.

– I emphasized keeping my distance in a different way than I did when I was in the same place in 2020, before the corona. I used a face mask as I walked through the room and I sat at the table. But if it was always a meter, it is not certain, he tells the newspaper.

It was VG who first mentioned the case.

Evaluating day by day

On Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister says this to NRK:

– It went pretty well. It was a place where you let in in relation to what the room could take. That responsibility was taken by those who owned the bar. When we went to the room we used bandages. Then you may be sitting around a table or in a passage you get a little closer. But I found that people were concerned with keeping their distance.

Doesn’t this show how challenging this is at the bar?

– We know that. Therefore, those who have nightclubs must think about how many they let in so it should be possible to keep their distance. I experienced that the nightclub in Tromsø emphasized this.

How fast do you envisage the meter being phased out?

– We have said that we look forward to this until February 17, but it can happen sooner. Now the public health authorities are following the development in hospitalizations and sick leave, the picture we must have. We will of course lift off the remaining grip as soon as we are confident of it. Until now, we have believed that some restrictions on close contacts are wise. But it can fall.

Does that mean you evaluate it on a day-to-day basis?

– We follow it day by day, that is exactly right. And we said that on Tuesday.

Has also signed

General manager Carite Fønnebø at Solid in Tromsø thinks the one-meter rule that the nightlife industry must comply with is unfair.

Photo: Sindre Reinholt / NRK

– Mental strain

Carite Fønnebø is the general manager of the nightclub Solid in Tromsø. She does not want to hang out Støre because he did not comply with the meter at the bar. But she is concerned about what the consequences could be for the staff and the nightclub, if there was a check just then.

– We are required to make arrangements for there to be a distance between the guests. Had there been a control right there, this could have been turned down and affected the allocation to the nightclub, she says.

Fønnebø says it is a mental strain to be at work when the one-meter rule applies.

– For us, it is a rule we must abide by, and not just a recommendation. At the same time, we do not have eyes in the neck. Employees go and are afraid of ignoring things or making mistakes, she says.

She believes it is unfair that the nightlife industry, as she says, has become an arena where people do not have to take personal responsibility.

– We should have the same rules as other industries. If people know that they are in the risk group and that they need more space around them, then we can of course arrange for that, she says.

Harry Granås

Bareier Harry Granås believes the Støre government must speed up the removal of the one-meter.

Photo: Vibeke Paulsen Cerón / NRK

Harry Granås runs several nightclubs in Tromsø. He has caught up with Støre’s “trampling”.

– It just shows how difficult it is for most people to comply with the meter. It can be 80 centimeters or 90 centimeters, you do not go by scale. The one-meter is completely unsustainable and it is extremely difficult to comply with, both for those who work and for the guests, who also have a responsibility.

He believes the meter should have been removed immediately when the government eased the restrictions on Tuesday.

– I see no purpose in it. There are 240-250 people on board a plane for hours, close together. That’s okay. But to sit in a nightclub to have a glass or two, then you have to keep the meter. All sensible people understand that this is just nonsense.

He points out that Støre has now said that the meter can be removed on February 17, and maybe before.

– It should have been removed immediately. Remove it now !, is his clear recommendation.

Torgeir Aasmo is one of the owners of Amtmandens, the nightclub where the Troms Labor Party had its pub night on Wednesday. He has seen the pictures of Støre.

– We had made arrangements so that you could keep your distance, and the feedback I have received is that it went well. Our experience is that guests are good at showing consideration and adhering to the rules at all times.

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