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Else-Marie Prytz says she didn’t wear a face mask during the months following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic last March, when the most extreme local restrictions were in effect including a total ban on tourist coming to Svalbard. But she was wearing one for the first time while shopping at Svalbardbutikken on Tuesday afternoon in the wake of a new wave of infections in Norway and Europe, prompting a new set of restrictions and a strong recommendation from local officials to wear masks.
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I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.