LOCAL CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES: Svalbardhallen, Longyearbyen Library, Kulturhuset, Galleri Svalbard, youth club among closures announced by city


A nationwide shutdown of schools, many businesses and other restrictions on activities/travel is being expanded in Longyearbyen to include places such as Svalbardhallen, Kulturhuset, Longyearbyen Library and Galleri Svalbard, the city announced on its website Thursday afternoon.

“There is limited access at Næringsbygget, Longyearbyen Harbor and the waste disposal station,” the notice states.

Businesses throughout Longyearbyen are also issuing updates of limits on service and/or closures.

The restrictions are in place until at least March 26.

“These necessary measures will have major consequences on us as a society,” Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “The community-wide effort is something we should do together. A common responsibility.

Also of priority at the official level, “there is still the assessment of the contamination that is still being maintained between Svalbard and the mainland so that we prevent the infection arriving.”

The city’s administrative building (Næringsbygget) is closed to open traffic, but people can arrange visits for necessary meetings and service by appointment.

Svalbard Folkehøgskole, forced to close due to the nationwide measures, is sending all students to their homes on the mainland at the school’s expense, the school announced in a press release. It is unknown when or if the school will resume operations during its first academic year.

The nationwide restrictions apply to social establishments such as pubs that do not serve food, which applies locally to Karlsberger Pub. Also, customers must be able to be seated at least one meter apart, which Kroa stated in an announcement it will limit their dining capacity.

“This means that we will not be able to serve at all tables for a period to come, and we will then have considerably less capacity in terms of the number of people we can accommodate in our premises at the same time,” the announcement on a local Facebook page states. Takeaway service will remain available as normal.

Fruene and Mix will be open with reduced seating on Thursday, as will many businesses in Lompensenteret other than those such as skin care and haircut establishments affected by the nationwide closure.

Among businesses still operating normally is Svalbard Delivery Service, which delivers food from numerous local eateries.