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– All in all, you got out of it well. It went well. But it is not a god way to do it, because it could have gone wrong, says general manager Per Magne Tronvoll in the security company PCM in Trondheim to NRK.
He says that there has been a lot of pressure in Trondheim city center yesterday and last night.
– We get a very short time from the authorities to staff up. Very many had challenges with it. We should have had a small week, he says.
On Friday at 12.30, the government held a press conference, and announced the reopening of Norway. The time was set at 16 days later.
Early on Saturday night, the first reports of long buyers and a lot of pressure came in several of Norway’s bar streets. In Trondheim, the police said that some lost their breath in the narrow queues.
As the night descended over the country, fights, injuries, and high levels of intoxication were reported in several places in the country.
The next day, Tronvoll confirms that the pressure was great. He wonders about the time chosen for the reopening, that it was added to a Saturday afternoon where there is the greatest activity.
– We have worked hard to have enough people. It’s a pretty bad assessment to open in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.
– It was unwise
Also general manager Jørn Indseth in Personell Sikring AS thinks it is a mistake to postpone the reopening to a Saturday afternoon.
– 16 on Saturday and nice weather. The weather can not be controlled, but I and many with me in the industry think it was unwise to postpone the reopening until 4 pm on a Saturday, he says to NRK.
Department director Fredrik Rønning Iversen for the general emergency service in Oslo says that it was barely a day’s notice, but that it went well.
– There was a lot going on, and it was manageable. But it is clear that when there is a lot of partying, you know that there will be a lot and that is how it will be on days like this, he says to NRK.
In Bergen, there were just under 60 people who needed help between 10 pm and 8 am in the morning.
Emergency room manager Dagrun Waag Linchausen estimates that it is between 25 and 30 percent more than a normal night until Sunday.
– This came to us a little abruptly. It’s not just just trying extra staff. But there were some who took extra shifts, and some stood over until 4 o’clock today early, says Linchausen.
Work: – Could want something more predictable
Linchausen does not think they would have gotten into the emergency room if people had been better prepared for the reopening. But she would like to see that they had a better time.
– This deadline was in the shortest team. But it’s always easy to say afterwards how we could do things. It is now that we can take our lives back, says the emergency room manager.
The industry organization Virke represents several nightlife players in Norway. Head of culture and experiences, Rhiannon Hovden Edwards, says she is happy that 562 corona days are over.
“First and foremost, we are very happy that it is now reopening,” Edwards told NRK.
The catering industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and coronary restrictions have meant that several companies have had to stay closed. Others have operated with sharply reduced offers.
– But it is clear that you could have a little more predictability for her as well.
Edwards says there are practical things that make it harder for nightclubs to adapt at short notice – such as refurnishing restaurants to full operation, shopping for goods, and bringing in extra staff.
Predictability is something the industry has demanded in several contexts throughout the pandemic, according to Edwards:
– Somewhat better predictability is what the industry has wanted perhaps most. Both in relation to restrictions but perhaps most in relation to the compensation measures that were to help the industry through the crisis, she says.
Not proportionate to wait any longer
State Secretary Saliba Andreas Korkunc (H) in the Ministry of Health tells NRK that decisions to open on Saturday afternoon were made as an attempt to give businesses and municipalities time to prepare, without letting strict measures last longer than they had to.
– On Monday, we received advice from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and NIPH that we could open at the turn of the month. But we saw beyond this week that the infection situation went in the right direction, several were vaccinated, and came to the conclusion that we could open up already this week, says Korkunc to NRK.
He points out that the infection measures have been burdensome for both the population and the business community, and that they could not be continued longer than they had to:
– Holding on to measures longer than necessary is not proportionate. And there have been many wedding parties, confirmations. And many in both culture and sports have struggled a lot, where it can be the audience and income this weekend was very welcome. So we had to find that balance, he says.