The increased occupancy rate applies regardless of whether the room has a separate bathroom or not. The current occupancy rates are 60 and 70 per cent, depending on whether the rooms have their own bathroom. Such restrictions have been necessary because people in Svalbard do not have the same options to quarantine or go into isolation as on the mainland.

‘Most residents in Svalbard are now protected against COVID-19, as most of the population here has been prioritised for vaccination. It is nonetheless necessary to reserve 10 per cent of the accommodation capacity in the event that the need should arise for quarantine or isolation’, says Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland.

Only a few people have been in quarantine in Svalbard, and no outbreaks have been registered so far. Health preparedness in Svalbard is limited. Separate infection control measures have therefore been necessary.

‘At present, the rate of infection is in decline nationwide, the number of people who are vaccinated is increasing every day, and fewer patients are being treated for COVID-19. The other infection control measures that apply specially to Svalbard will thus be assessed together with the situation in Norway. This means that we will be able to make changes in connection with the transition to Step 3’, says Ms Mæland.