6. Measures in other sectors
6.1 Measures in other sectors
Many MEASURES IN OTHER SECTORS beyond the immediate scope of the health system are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus. This section contains information on many of these areas, including border and travel restrictions and economic and fiscal measures, among others.
From May 25, guidelines from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on cross-border traveling include business trips as a recognized purpose if assessed necessary by the company. A Covid-19 test is recommended before and after the trip
May 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that the guidelines on cross-border traveling to Norway, Iceland and Germany will be changed, so that tourist visits to these countries after June 15 is no longer included in the general warning against traveling to other countries in force until August 31
Tourists from Norway, Iceland and Germany are permitted into Denmark from June 15 if they can document a reservation for at least 6 overnight stays in Denmark outside Copenhagen. Voluntary testing for COVID-19 will be offered to the tourists at the borders and in certain tourist areas of the country (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/statsministeren-tyskere-nordmaend-og-islaendinge-maa-krydse-graensen-fra-15-juni).
The Faroe Islands will allow tourists from Denmark, Iceland and Greenland from June 15 and will reduce requirements for isolation and increase testing (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/udland/faeroeerne-aabner-igen-danskere).
As of June 15, it will be possible for non-Danish close relatives to accompany Danish citizens living abroad when traveling to Denmark (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/ny-graenseaabning-danskere-i-udlandet-kan-tage-aegtefaeller-boern-og-boerneboern-med). A supplementary agreement states that as of June 15, it will also be possible for grandparents, grandchildren, fiancées/sweethearts and persons doing interviews for jobs or traveling for business from the EU, Schengen and Great Britain to visit Denmark. Borders are also opened for citizens living in the German region of Schleswig-Holsten. Finally, borders are opened for persons from the EU, Schengen and Great Britain that own vacation residencies and in Denmark or can document that they are in transit through Denmark. Borders to Sweden remain closed (https://www.justitsministeriet.dk/nyt-og-presse/pressemeddelelser/2020/danmark-aabner-yderligere-op-graenserne).
On June 12, the government decided that tourists will also be allowed to stay in Copenhagen. Tourists must still have reservations for at least six overnight stays in Denmark.
On June 15, the Danish Health Authority published leaflets in English, German and Danish to inform tourists in Denmark about the Danish recommendations to prevent infection with COVID-19 (https://www.sst.dk/da/Nyheder/2020/Turister-i-Danmark-skal-kende-de-danske-anbefalinger-for-at-undgaa-smitte-med-ny-coronavirus).
On June 16, the national government announced that it will define objective criteria for allowing visitors from other countries into Denmark
On June 17, the national government published new criteria, in force from June 27, to allow people from other countries into Denmark and allowing Danish citizens to travel to other countries and return without voluntary self-isolation (‘quarantine’). To fulfill these criteria, the country must have less than 20 people infected with COVID-19 of 100,000 inhabitants a week
- A country must fulfill certain criteria regarding its testing capacity for COVID-19. These criteria have not been defined yet
- A country must not place major restrictions on Danish citizens’ access to the country
- If a country is classified as ’open’, access will be restricted again (‘quarantine’), if the number of citizens diagnosed with COVID-19 exceeds 30 infected by 100,000 inhabitants a week.
Once a week, the SSI will publish a list of countries registered as “open countries” and ”quarantine countries”, respectively. The first edition of the list will be available on June 25.
So far, the national government assumes that most countries in the EU and the Schengen-area - and the UK – will be ‘open’. However, Sweden and Portugal will be classified as quarantine countries.
Regions in the Nordic countries fulfilling the Danish criteria may be classified as open, even if the country as a whole does not fulfill the Danish criteria. Citizens from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and Skåne, Halland and Blekinge in Sweden are exempt from the rule that they must make reservations for six overnight stays in order to be allowed to enter Denmark, and even if one of these regions is classified as ‘quarantine’ a citizen from the region may enter Denmark, if he/she has a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours
From June 27, persons from all countries who are in a relationship or engaged to a Danish resident; grandparents and grandchildren to a Danish resident; as well as persons who will go on a business trip or will have a job interview in Denmark are allowed to travel to Denmark, as it is considered a ‘worthy purpose’ for entering Denmark. It requires the documentation of a negative corona test taken at most 72 hours before entry. Relationships must have had a certain duration, usually three months, and the couple must have had regular physical meetings (e.g. relationships consisting solely of written or telephone correspondence, are not considered to be recognized in the context of the current entry restrictions) (https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/hvis-du-skal-rejse-ind-i-eller-via-danmark).
August 6, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided warning against traveling to two more European countries, Spain and Andorra in addition to Ireland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Luxemburg
On September 3, the border control at all Danish borders was reduced, except for airports, with only a minority of the people who want to enter Denmark being checked at the border (https://politi.dk/rigspolitiet/nyhedsliste/tilpasset-graensekontrol/2020/09/03).
Travel conditions remain unchanged; there are no restrictions but recommendations to avoid contact.
Long distance buses were only allowed to sell a ticket to every second seat, but this restriction was abolished on May 18 by the Danish Road Traffic Authority, which – referring to the health authorities - recommends passengers to sit facing in the same direction and avoid sitting face-to-face with less than one meter between them
The government will launch a new model for the opening of borders and modification of travel guidelines for the EU, countries under the Schengen area and the United Kingdom, which will come into force from June 27. The model will include some objective criteria such as low numbers of infected persons, which will be decisive for the opening
On June 25, the Foreign Ministry published new guidelines opening up for traveling to 25 European countries, warning then against traveling to Rumania, Portugal, UK, Ireland, Malta and Sweden. Citizens from the 25 countries are also allowed entering Denmark, provided that they have at least 6 overnight stays booked in Denmark. The guidelines will be revised once a week according to the defined criteria regarding number of infected persons in each country as well as their “quarantine” requirements. From July 9 and 10, travels to the Southern parts of Sweden (the regions of Blekinge, Kronoberg, Västerbotten and Skåne) and the UK are allowed, and visitors from these places are also allowed into Denmark, and citizens in the Swedish region of Skåne are exempt from the rule of six overnight stays in Denmark (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/indland/nye-rejsevejledninger-her-er-landene-du-nu-kan-rejse-til).
From July 8, it is possible to download a ‘COVID-19 passport’, if a citizens has had a negative COVID-19-test within seven days (https://www.sundhed.dk/borger/corona/information-til-rejsende/).
Guidance on travelling to individual countries is available from this homepage:
https://um.dk/da/rejse-og-ophold/rejse-til-udlandet/rejsevejledninger/oversigt-over-udenrigsministeriets-rejsevejledninger/, where revised guidelines are published once a week (on Thursdays).
Regarding guidance on travelling, countries are divided into:
o “Yellow countries”, from which Danish travelers may return without testing or self-isolation.
o “Orange countries”, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advices against visiting, unless there are compelling reasons to do so. The Ministry recommends a) undergoing a test for COVID-19, and b) two weeks’ self-isolation after returning to Denmark, unless the returning traveler gets a negative COVID-19 test after returning to Denmark.
Countries may also be classified as “green” (travelers should use their common sense, like they were at home) or “red” (the Ministry recommends travelers to avoid these countries no matter what the purpose of the trip was, travelers should get professional advice on safety, and travelers must self-isolate for two weeks after the trip).
On August 15, Latvia was added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other European countries on the list include: Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria, Rumania and Luxembourg.
On August 27, France and Croatia was added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange’ status), and so was Hungary on September 1.
On September 17, four new countries (Portugal, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria) were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One country, San Marino, however, has been removed from this list.
On September 24, four new countries (the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Slovenia) were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange status’).
On September 27 France, and on September 28 Tunisia, were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange status’).
On October 1, Slovakia was added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange status’).
On October 9, some of the Swedish regions were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange status’): Blekinge, Halland, Jämtland, Härjedalen, Kronoberg, Stockholm, Uppsala, Västmanland and Örebro.
On October 15, five countries and four of the Swedish regions were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (‘orange status’): Bulgaria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Poland – and the Swedish regions of Dalarna, Gotland, Jönköping and Östergötland.
On October 22, most of Germany, Cyprus and four new regions of Sweden were added to the list of European destinations where non-essential entry is strongly discouraged by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“orange status”), thus leaving only Norway and Greece as countries in Europe where entry is not discouraged.
April 17: A large majority of the Danish parliament decided to expand Phase 1 of the re-opening of the Danish society (previously announced by the Prime Minister to start on 15 April) to include private service-providers, the courts and time-critical research-projects including Ph.D. projects. The re-opening takes effect on Monday April 20.
The re-opening of the private service sector includes hairdressers and driving schools – the extent of the re-opening of the service sector will be decided upon in cooperation between the state and the relevant business organizations and trade unions (https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/seneste-nyt-fra-myndighederne/foerste-trin-i-kontrolleret-genaabning-af-det-danske-samfund). If the re-opening does not include a specific kind of business, the companies in that business will keep the wage subsidy they are currently entitled to.
The agreement builds on a memo from the SSI, which found that it is possible to extend Phase 1 of the re-opening to other sectors and maintain the decrease in the incidence of COVID-19. The agreement is consistent with recommendations in the memo, that the re-opening should not include restaurants, continuation schools and folk high schools (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/regeringen-og-bredt-flertal-enige-frisoerer-og-domstole-maa-aabne-paa-mandag) (http://www.stm.dk/_p_14942.html).
April 20: the Danish Health Authority published guidelines and posters on how hairdressers and other service providers may minimize the risk of infection with COVID-19 when they re-open their business (https://www.sst.dk/da/Nyheder/2020/Saadan-kan-du-forebygge-smitte-ved-taette-kontakter-i-erhvervsmaessig-sammenhaeng).
There would be a gradual re-opening based on local evaluations of workplaces except for hairdressers and other small businesses with close contact with customers (especially health care), where the re-opening takes place on a national scale. SMEs have been allowed to re-open, but this does not apply to restaurants or cafés.
There is still a limitation on gatherings to ten people. If this limit is increased it will not exceed 500 persons until sometime after September 1
May 15: The different parties of the parliament agreed that from approx. May 20, citizens in increased risk of severe consequences of COVID-19 (see section 1.2) may stay away from work until September 20. The employer will receive a refund for part of the wage paid to the employees (https://bm.dk/nyheder-presse/pressemeddelelser/2020/05/bredt-flertal-sikrer-forsoergelse-til-mennesker-med-ekstra-risiko-ved-corona-sygdom/).
June 15: All public employees in the two eastern regions of Denmark will be allowed to go back to their workplace. - This has been possible in West Denmark since May 27. - Danish authorities have issued COVID-19 related guidelines for conduct when returning to work (https://www.justitsministeriet.dk/nyt-og-presse/pressemeddelelser/2020/offentligt-ansatte-i-oestdanmark-tilbage-paa-arbejde-den-15).
July 20: Many sailors have been ‘stranded’ for months on ships, unable to return to their home country to go on holiday. On July 20, the national government reported to have found a solution which enables sailors to travel home from work on a ship or to travel from holidays in Denmark to a ship for work. The solution will be implemented in August
May 14: The government has asked a group of experts to consider how to dismantle the economic aid packages (https://fm.dk/nyheder/nyhedsarkiv/2020/maj/oekonomisk-ekspertgruppe-skal-raadgive-om-udfasning-af-hjaelpepakker/).
On June 15, a majority of the Danish Parliament entered into an agreement to strengthen the country’s economy and employment by stimulating demand in Denmark in 2020. The agreement includes the following initiatives:
- 60% of the mandatory holiday allowance (as paid by the recipients themselves but originally to be paid back to recipients at their retirement) will be paid to the citizens in the autumn of 2020.
- All citizens on public welfare will receive a sum of DKK 1,000 (around 134 euros), tax-free, no later than in October 2020.
- DKK 700 million (around 94 million euros) have been set aside by parties to subsidize transport fares (ferries, bridges and trains), entry at museums, and hotel stays.
- Private companies will be allowed to deduct 130% of their research costs.
- An organization, VisitDenmark, will receive a grant of DKK 50 million (around 7 million euros) to promote tourism in Denmark.
- The parties will enter into negotiations on how they may support airlines and the travel industry.
- The government will set up a national fund of DKK 10 billion (around 1 billion euros) to support major companies of national importance which are unable to obtain funding from other – usual - sources.
- DKK 500 million (67 million euros) have been set aside by the parties to support export.
- On July 8, when the current support for companies who have lost turnover expires, companies which face restrictions due to initiatives to prevent COVID-19 will be offered support until August 31.
- Compensation for independent businesspersons, freelancers, etc. will be extended until August 8.
- Independent businesspersons will be offered better opportunities for unemployment benefits.
- The right to unemployment benefits and sickness payment will be extended by two months.
- Until August 31, employers will not have to pay for employees’ first and second days of unemployment.
- Students’ rights to state-supported loans will be extended by two months.
- The time limits for employees’ tax payments and VAT will be extended.
- Financial compensation to cultural institutions will be extended until August 8
On June 25, the Government and a majority of the Danish Parliament entered an agreement to subsidize air traffic within Denmark. In total, 260 million DKK (around 35 million euros) have been set aside to support internal flights and to reduce airport taxes (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/politisk-flertal-lander-lufthavnspakke-til-260-millioner-kroner).
On August 28, a large majority of the Parliament entered into an agreement to phase out the current general economic aid packages, as agreed by the national government and representatives of the Danish trade unions and Danish businesses, while supporting businesses and culture and sports institutions which by law are not allowed to open yet, or whose work is impacted negatively by the restrictions on public assemblies or on travel.
The subsidies for these businesses’ and institutions’ costs will be extended until October 31, and further subsidies of fixed costs will be added, effective from July 9 2020.
Furthermore, cultural institutions’ activities until October 31 will be supported by a grant of DKK 300 million, and sports, by a grant of DKK 100 million.
The estimated additional expenses associated with extension until October 31 of the aid packages is DKK 2,860 million, of which DKK 1,500 million will be allocated to subsidies of businesses’ fixed costs
On September 20, a large majority of the parliament entered into an agreement to help restaurants, bars, etc. after the introduction on September 18 of national restrictions targeting the nightlife – especially the mandatory closure at 10pm. The agreement includes financial support to cover the businesses’ fixed costs for business with a reduction in turnover of more than 35% due to the reduced opening hours; to private businessmen in the sector with very large falls in turnover due to reduced opening hours (30 % or more); compensation to restaurants’ and bars’ suppliers; and special support for the sector as a whole (DKK 100 mill), and especially for small businesses (https://em.dk/nyhedsarkiv/2020/september/ny-aftale-sikrer-hjaelp-til-barer-restauranter-og-cafeer/).
On September 22, a majority in the Danish Parliament revised the agreement of June 25 on subsidizing air traffic to fit EU-rules (https://www.trm.dk/nyheder/2020/justeret-aftale-om-genstart-af-luftfarten/).
October 8: the compensation agreements to help restaurants, bars, etc. after the introduction on September 18 of national restrictions targeting the nightlife will be prolonged until October 31.
October 13: a large majority in the Danish Parliament entered into an agreement to compensate businesses which provide services to private parties and social events with at least 50 participants outside private homes for fixed costs; and to compensate providers who bought perishable goods for use in the weekend of September 26-27. Finally, the agreement includes a grant of DKK 200 million (around 27 million euros) for activities at bars, etc. which by law must close no later than 10pm. Each bar etc. may apply for up to DKK 25,000 (around 3,359 euros) to fund entertainment, etc., aimed at increasing activity at the bars
On April 7, the Danish Health Authority published guidelines on the gradual re-opening of schools, including guidelines on distancing between pupils, cleaning of toilets twice a day, etc. The guidelines have been revised several times – most recently on April 16 https://www.sst.dk/da/Nyheder/2020/Vejledningerne-for-den-gradvise-kontrollerede-genaabning-af-skoler-og-daginstitutioner-er-opd).
Likewise, on April 11, all parents received an email from the Danish Health Authority about preventive guidelines on the gradual reopening of child care facilities and schools, and the local institutions have likewise informed the parents about the local guidelines and local gradual re-opening procedures per e-mail.
On April 15, schools (1th-5th year) and high schools (3rd and final year) were opened (https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/seneste-nyt-fra-myndighederne/foerste-trin-i-kontrolleret-genaabning-af-det-danske-samfund)
From August 1, higher education institutions are allowed to reopen but they will have to follow the usual preventive transmission guidelines. Classes may be taught with 25-30 students and up to 50 students if there are compelling arguments for this (https://ufm.dk/aktuelt/nyheder/2020/filer/retningslinjer-for-ansvarlig-genabning-af-de-videregaende-uddannelsesinstitutioner-02-07-20.pdf).
On March 14, borders were closed for entry except for people living or working in Denmark, Danish citizens, or visitors with a “worthy purpose”. No lock-down is in place.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued travel advice on March 13 stating that Danes are strongly encouraged not to travel abroad unless strictly necessary until April 13. This was also communicated in press meetings and relevant national websites. There are no restrictions on internal travel (incl. public transport), but transport organizations must provide sufficient space to avoid close contact. Denmark official travel advice can be found here: https://um.dk/da/nyheder-fra-udenrigsministeriet/newsdisplaypage/?newsID=8C224337-5AE3-408F-8AF1-7D6A02292C35
Economy and state aid
The Ministry of Finance expects that the Danish GDP will shrink by 3-6% in 2020, and a deficit in the public sector of 5-7% of GDP
Denmark has adopted a major aid package with wage compensation, loan guarantees, postponement of VAT and taxes etc. The fiscal policy effect is 56 billion DKK (2.4 % of GDP) and the credits can amount to as much as 225 billion DKK (9.8% of GDP) (https://www.altinget.dk/artikel/professor-nu-affyres-de-europaeiske-bazookaer-for-at-redde-oekonomien?SNSubscribed=true&ref=newsletter&refid=forsiden-morgen-24-03-1&utm_campaign=altingetdk%20Altinget.dk&utm_medium%09=e-mail&utm_source=nyhedsbrev).
A tripartite agreement has been reached between the state, employers and unions in order to secure wage compensation and maintain employment. The wage compensation agreement means that the government will cover the cost of employees’ salaries at private companies as long as those companies do not fire people. If a company makes a notice saying that it has to either lay off 30% of their workers or fire at least 50 people, the state has agreed to take on 75% of workers’ salaries, up to $3,288 per month (this would preserve the income for all employees earning up to $52,400 per year)
The economic aid package adopted on March 19 includes: (https://www.fm.dk/nyheder/pressemeddelelser/2020/03/regeringen-og-partier-enige-om-hjaelpepakke)
• Support for small businesses and free-lancers
• Support for fixed costs for firms
• Extended access to export credits
• Extended possibilities for state guaranteed loans to SMEs
• Public procurement to support companies
• State guarantee to the sector based travel insurance scheme
• Increased access to sick leave and unemployment payment
• Increased access to state loans for students
• Postponement of VAT and other taxes
• Suspension of requirements of minimum number of working days for persons on social security
• Temporary salary compensation
• Sickness benefit reimbursement to employers
• Compensation for the cancelling of major events in March
• Guarantees for small, medium sized and larger companies
• EKF (liquidity guarantee) (https://ekf.dk/coronavirus)
• Guarantees to SAS (airline)
There is no declaration of a state of emergency and/or deployment of military resources.
The Danish Parliament has passed an act that increases punishment for offenses related to Covid-19 such as violence and threats to persons in public service, and thefts, including thefts of hand sanitizers and other safeguards, which will henceforth be punishable by imprisonment. The legislation also makes it possible to quadruple punishment for illegitimate access to COVID-19 related support packages, loans, etc. The legislation was passed with a sunset clause of March 1, 2021.
The Danish government is working in coordination with international organizations, including EU and WHO.
Italy has officially sent a request to Denmark for assistance with materials and health professional competence (April 2). In response to this request on April 8, Denmark offered Italy 15-20 ventilators from the Armed Forces , 1 million Euro (to the Italian Red Cross) as well as a unmanned field hospital (April 8) (https://um.dk/da/udenrigspolitik/udenrigspolitiske-nyheder/newsdisplaypage.aspx?newsID=7D0D47A5-5058-48A3-AD9A-0D594FCB592A; https://um.dk/da/udenrigspolitik/udenrigspolitiske-nyheder/newsdisplaypage.aspx?newsID=7D0D47A5-5058-48A3-AD9A-0D594FCB592A). The ventilators were relatively old and not aimed at COVID-19-patients, and on April 29, Italy officially declined to receive the ventilators. By May 16, the Region of Southern Denmark offered to send 13 modern ventilators suitable for COVID-19-patients with severe lung damage to Italy, which the Italian authorities accepted. Denmark may recall the ventilators if the number of admissions at the Danish ICT units reaches a level where they will be needed in Denmark (https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/danmark-sender-alligevel-respiratorer-til-italien).
Subsequently, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (on May 20), the Minister of Health (on June 26) and the Minister of Defense (on June 26) have received a public reprimand (a so-called “nose”) by a majority of the members in the Parliament for their actions of offering old ventilators to Italy. (https://sundhedspolitisktidsskrift.dk/nyheder/3555-sundhedsministeren-far-naese-i-respirator-sag.html).
On September 22, the Ministry of Health reported that Denmark will lend Albania 30 modern ventilators suitable for patients suffering from Covid-19. A task force is currently considering how to achieve the greatest effect by lending 50 other modern ventilators to another country (https://sum.dk/Aktuelt/Nyheder/Coronavirus/2020/September/Dansk-udlaan-af-respiratorer-til-Albanien-til-brug-for-behandling-af-COVID-19.aspx).