COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danes returned to cafes, restaurants, bars and museums on Wednesday for the first time in months as COVID-19 restrictions were eased thanks to a drop in infection rates.
Cafes and restaurants had been shut down except for takeaway since a second wave of COVID-19 accelerated in December. It has since receded, unlike in certain other European countries that are experiencing a third wave.
Denmark has adopted a “corona-passport” system whereby people can either use a mobile application or a government-approved form to show if they have been vaccinated, previously infected or have had a negative test in the past 72 hours.
Staff at cafes and restaurants are required to check customers’ corona-passports before they let them in.
The system has generated some controversy, but appeared to be functioning smoothly on Wednesday.
Britt Pedersen, 71, a retired high-school teacher, headed to her favourite cafe, Kaffesalonen, which overlooks a lake in central Copenhagen. She showed a waitress proof of a recent negative test, adding that she had also had her first dose of vaccine.
“I’ve looked forward to coming down here,” said Pedersen. “Kaffesalonen is the kind of place where I can come down and get a cup of coffee and read the daily newspaper, a book or talk to the other customers.”
Among other regulars happy to return to the cafe after the lockdown was Jorn Tolstrup, 71, a retired school headmaster. He had been staying in touch with friends on Facebook, and a group of them had met up outdoors a week earlier for a warm-up coffee. Sitting down in the cafe was a definite step-up.
Denmark’s latest daily data showed 803 new cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in 24 hours, a similar number to daily levels seen since late January. The country has fully vaccinated 9% of the population.
(Reporting by Tim Barsoe, editing by Estelle Shirbon)