Denmark to free entire retail sector from lockdown on Monday

Denmark will open much of its economy on Monday, after judging that the threat posed by Covid-19 is no longer serious enough to warrant keeping businesses shuttered.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her government’s decision to impose restrictions early on played a key role in allowing the country to now start returning to normal.

“We were quick and efficient in closing down our society,” she said in a televised press briefing from her summer residence north of Copenhagen. “That’s why we can start to reopen.”

Denmark’s entire retail sector will be allowed to resume normal business on May 11, with cafes, restaurants and schools for older children set to open the following week. The announcement came as neighboring Norway said it, too, would open all schools on Monday.

“We are now in a good place,” Frederiksen said.

With life slowly returning to what it was before the Covid-19 crisis, Frederiksen said parliament was now looking into unwinding some of the roughly 400 billion kroner ($60 billion) in support measures passed since March.

Denmark went into a near-total lockdown in the middle of March. As of Thursday, the country of roughly 5.5 million had registered 514 Covid-19 related deaths. Frederiksen said that any signs of a spike in infections would result in an immediate reinstatement of restrictions.

Social distancing will remain a requirement, and groups larger than 10 continue to be banned.

Thursday’s announcement sets in motion the second phase of a relaxation of Denmark’s lockdown. Last month, the government opened primary schools and allowed some businesses to return to work, including hairdressers and dentists.

Denmark’s borders will remain closed, with an update from the government due by June 1 at the latest. Frederiksen said further measures to open the economy won’t be announced until after the summer.

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