Christoffer Nicolaisen, senior lawyer, Deloitte Advokatfirma AS
Mari Wetlesen, partner, Deloitte Advokatfirma AS
Peder Brøndmo, director, Deloitte Advokatfirma AS

Christoffer Nicolaisen, senior lawyer, (LinkedInProfile)
Mari Wetlesen, partner, (LinkedInProfile)
Peder Brøndmo, director, (LinkedInProfile)

Overview of legal measures as of 7th May 2020 as a Norwegian response to the coronavirus. Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.


Facts and figures

The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country whose territory comprises the western and northernmost part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Per 2020, Norway consists of 11 county municipalities (no.: "Fylkeskommuner") and 356 local municipalities (no.: "Kommuner") with an aggregate population of 5 367 580 per Q4 2019.

Legal system

As a jurisdiction, Norway is based on a civil law system where statutory laws are passed by a unicameral parliament and further regulations are passed by the King in Council (meetings of the King and the Council of State, ie, the cabinet). Norway is a party to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement and implements European Union laws and regulations as Norwegian law accordingly. Norwegian laws are published collectively, in a single volume book, on an annual basis by the University of Oslo and is publicly available online.

Case law supplements the legal landscape as far as individual legislation is open for interpretation and administrative discretion. There is no precedent rule, so each case is tried individually. The Supreme Court may therefore disregard its earlier decisions, and lower courts may come to a different result than earlier cases based on the individual merits of a case. Even so, the Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions are respected and widely used as legal guidance by other courts.

Norwegian acts and regulations are applicable on a national level, although Norwegian municipalities and its administration may set out local terms and restrictions as long as they are within the framework of the applicable law.

Corona regulations

The Norwegian government has passed a temporary Corona Act (see chapter 1.1) and a number of temporary national regulations as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Corona Act does not influence the independence of the Norwegian Courts, which are guaranteed by the Constitution ("Grunnloven").

Originally, a wide range of municipalities adopted local quarantine regulations in order to limit the national spread of the Corona virus in their region, with a basis in the Norwegian Diseases Protection Act ("Smittevernloven"). As of 20th of April, the Government has lifted the previous ban on staying overnight at cabins or other leisure homes situated in another municipality than your home municipality. Many municipalities have lifted the stricter local regulations than the national quarantine regulations, but are still allowed to supplement the national regulations as necessary.

To ensure proportionality and coordination between national and local measures the government has specifically asked municipalities to avoid the following, based on the situation today:

  • Measures that affect critical social functions, as defined in them at all times applicable national regulations

  • Measures affecting public service and public administration, including child welfare

  • Measures affecting transit without residence in the municipality

  • Measures that affect children with shared housing and thus disproportionately intervening with family life

  • Measures affecting people who cross municipal boundaries while traveling between homes and workplaces, and between different workplaces, and which prevents employees from keeping their jobs and that employers are still guaranteed access to their labor force.

  • Measures affecting the transport of goods (by road, sea or rail or in the air)

  • Measures of importance for keeping production in business, among other things maintenance, repairs, supply lines, specialized services, etc.


Most businesses are again mainly open after a temporary lockdown (see chapter 1.6), but with certain restrictions to maintain social distancing and quarantine rules. Kindergartens and schools up to 4th grade were reopened from 27th of April, whereas tuition in higher grades are still in lockdown. High schools students in the final years of vocational studies (VG2 and VG3) may again go back to their studies, under the condition that this is done in a way consistent with prevailing disease protection recommendations. Universities and other higher studies will be reopened on a limited basis from 27th of April.

Economic measures

Norway has ample room for manoeuvre in economic policy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund (Government Pension Fund Global – GPFG) provides a sizeable fiscal buffer. It is designed for the long term, but in a way that makes it possible to draw on when required. A fiscal policy rule governs how much can be transferred from the fund to the fiscal budget. The rule is prudent, but flexible. The fund and the fiscal rule thus enables the government to provide fiscal stimulus when needed.

An overview of the current economic measures are given in Chapter 2.2. The Norwegian government has introduced significant measures to support jobs, help businesses and people, and strengthen health services. Still, more may be needed in the coming weeks. The measures are meant to be targeted, effective and reversible.

Norwegian measures have been introduced in several steps, with proposals to the Parliament on 13 March, 20 March, 27 March, and, lastly, 3 April. There is broad political cooperation between the Government and the other parties in Parliament.

Social distancing, quarantine rules and home isolation

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has issued general and specific recommendations with regards to social distancing, quarantine rules and home isolation. As a starting point, the general public should practice a distance of 2 metres and may not be in groups of more than 5 people (see chapter 1.5). One is allowed to be in normal contact with members of the household. In premises where 2 meters of distance may be difficult to comply with, but which should be kept open (such as shops and pharmacies), a distance between persons of at least 1 meter should be kept.

Upon entry to Norway (see chapter 1.2) or if you have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19, you are assigned to home quarantine and visits are not allowed. You can go for walks if social distancing rules are adhered to, and you can carry out strictly essential errands to buy food or medical necessities. Home isolation must begin if and when symptoms are present. During home isolation, you are not allowed to leave your home and shall as far as possible keep away from household members. Food and medical necessities must be brought by someone else. Household members are in quarantine for as long as the person in question has a probable or confirmed case of Covid-19. Home isolation is lifted 7 days after the last day of symptoms.


1.1 Legal basis

The Corona Act (temporary Act)

On the 27th of March 2020, the Parliament passed the "Temporary Act to remedy the consequences of the outbreak of Covid-19, etc." (the "Corona Act").

The Corona Act gives the government (King and the Council of State) the right to further detail, supplement or derogate from a wide series of laws through regulations (§ 2), as far as necessary to fulfill the purpose of the Act, which is to limit the disruption of key social functions as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19, and to mitigate negative impacts on the population, business, public sector or society at large (§ 1).

The Corona Act is currently valid until 27th of April 2020, and may be extended with certain changes until 27th of May 2020. Regulations passed by the Government must be notified to the parliament immediately (§ 5, first section), are only valid for a limited time period and expire simultaneously with the Corona Act (§ 4, last section). If a third of the parliament does not support a certain regulation or parts thereof, the Government must cancel such regulation (or parts thereof) immediately (§ 5, second section).

The Corona Act is publicly available here (Norwegian language)

Temporary regulations

Since the passing of the Corona Act, the Norwegian government (King and the Council of State) has passed a series of temporary regulations in order to alleviate the consequence of Covid-19 with a legal basis in the Corona Act.

An overview of all new regulations and suggested regulations is available here (Norwegian language).

1.2 Border


Due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, the UDI or the police can reject (deny entry to Norway) foreigners without a residence permit in Norway. Foreigners who have been rejected must leave Norway without undue delay.

An unofficial translation of the "Regulation relating to rejection of foreign nationals without a residence permit in the realm, out of concern for public health" is available here.

Airports, ports and border crossings are kept open for transport of goods as normal.

Quarantine rules upon entry and exceptions

Citizens with a Norwegian passport or other legal basis for valid entry arriving from abroad to be admitted into the Kingdom of Norway must adhere to the rules for quarantine and isolation upon arrival in Norway. Citizens coming from abroad must therefore, regardless of their nationality, stay quarantined for 14 days from the day of their return to Norway.

Quarantine rules also apply to anyone who has been in close contact with anybody that have previously or subsequently been confirmed as infected by the Corona virus. Who this applies to will be decided by the health services and the infected person. Close contact means contact closer than 2 meters for longer than 15 minutes, or if one has been in direct physical contact. The quarantine lasts 14 days from the day of the contact.

The obligation to complete the quarantine period of 14 days remains even if the citizen tests negative for the corona virus.

Employers may give exceptions to the quarantine rules regarding people who are deemed essential for maintaining functions critical for health and safety. Such functions may include

  • on-duty personell in the healthcare services

  • police, fire and rescue services

  • top management of critical social functions

The exception does not apply in leisure time, only when at work or traveling to and from work with anything other than public transport. They should, as far as possible, avoid close contact with other persons.

EU/EEA Citizens
EU/EEA citizens travelling to Norway are admitted into the country (on the condition that quarantine rules are adhered to), as long as the citizen can document:

  • a work contract with a Norwegian employer, or

  • a work contract with a company in another EU/EEA country that has given the citizen an assignment in Norway, or

  • that the citizen has an own company in another EU/EEA country and have an assignment in Norway.

EU / EEA citizens who already live and/or work in Norway coming back to Norway are admitted into the country together with their immediate family, but must document their belonging here.

EU/EEA citizens who want to travel to Norway to be with their family / spouse may not travel to Norway unless such citizen:

  • has children (under 18) with his/her Norwegian spouse/cohabitant in Norway with whom he/she will live

  • will travel to Norway with Norwegian spouse/cohabitant and their children (under 18).

  • shall carry out an agreed or access meeting with a minor Norwegian child or children living in Norway.

Exceptions are also made for:

  • If a wife / girlfriend is going to give birth the citizen's child in Norway

  • If a citizen's close family member has become acutely seriously ill or dead

  • If the citizen is attending the funeral of an immediate family member (spouse/cohabitant, sibling, or children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents)

  • Citizens of EU/EEA countries may enter Norway without a residence permit if they are to work in a sector where there is a critical need for labour. Workers from a EU/ EEA country who are to start a job in sectors including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the food industry are not to be refused entry to Norway.

1.3 Visas

Non EU/EEA citizens - Schengen and other visas

Visas to Norway can now only be granted in exceptional cases.

Even if a citizen has obtained a valid Schengen visa and has a visa sticker in the passport, he/she will be rejected on the border to Norway.

If the citizen has been granted a visa, a visa sticker will normally not be issued.

1.4 Export control

All transport of goods remains as normal

In principle, all transport of goods, imports and exports, remains as normal, whether by road, train, ship and aircraft. Airports, ports and border crossings are kept open for such traffic.

Export control rules

Under Norway’s export control system, a range of products, technology and services may only be exported from Norway if the exporter has obtained an export licence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An overview over export control legislation, the types of products, technology and services that require an export licence, and sanctions and restrictive measure is available

As of 20th April 2020, there are no known pending temporary changes to said r
ules because of Covid-19 and the Corona Act.

1.5 Prohibition of crowds

Prohibition of crowds more than 5

A temporary regulation on infection control measures, etc. at the outbreak of the corona (Covid-19 regulation) came into force on 27th of March 2020. Section 4 of the regulations assumes that the Norwegian Directorate of Health provides physical distance recommendations to be kept between people and restrictions on the number of people that can be gathered in a group.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has issued such a recommendation, stating that there should be no more than 5 people in a group. This does not apply to people living in the same household.

Public gatherings (concerts, cinemas etc.)

Per 7th of May

1.6 Lockdown

Lockdown of certain industries

There is no general lockdown in Norway at the moment, but businesses in certain industries have been temporarily placed in lockdown because of their nature. These industries include:

  • Serving outlets that does not offer food (cafes, bars, pubs, discotheques and similar).

  • Business that offers hairdressing services, skin care, massage, tattoos, piercing and similar offers.

  • Gyms, swimming pools, amusement parks, bingo halls and similar offers.

Requirements for other industries

Serving outlets that offer food may stay open if the general disease protection requirements are adhered to and maintained. This means that both visitors and employees are able to keep two metres distance, that there are routines for good hygiene and cleaning present and that such routines are followed.

1.7 Shareholder's meetings and other meetings of companies

Temporary regulations for board-, shareholder- and other company meetings

Temporary regulations have been adopted per 27th March 2020 to make exceptions from the meeting rules in the relevant laws for cooperatives, private and public limited liability companies, foundations and other companies.

The main rule of these laws is that board meetings, general assemblies etc. shall take place in the form of a physical meeting, and that the signing of minutes, etc. shall be in writing. This requirement may now be in violation of the instructions of the health authorities. Therefore, the government has opened for such companies using remote meeting technology as well as electronic signatures.

The exception rules are mainly as follows:

  • The chairman of the board may decide that the board or other relevant company body shall deal with and decide any matter by telephone or video conference, in writing or in any other satisfactory manner, without the members of the Board being physically assembled.

  • If the meeting takes place physically, any board member, shareholder as well as CEO, auditors etc. may require to attend by telephone or video or in any other satisfactory manner without being physically present.

  • Minutes of board meetings, shareholder's meetings and other company body meetings may be signed using electronic signature.

1.8 Supply of essential medical goods

Hospitals and pharmacies

There has been no critical shortage of essential medical supplies in Norway thanks to widespread acceptance of the social distancing, quarantine and home isolation rules.

Hospitals are gradually assumed to return to normal operations after the initial emergency preparation phase (see chapter 1.10), and most pharmacies remain open as normal.

1.10 Health care

Temporary regulation on changes in health legislation to alleviate consquences during the Covid-19 outbreak

The temporary regulations on changes in health legislation etc. was adopted on 27th of March, and entails amendments to and exceptions to the Patient and User Rights Act, the Special Health Services Act and the Regulation on prioritized health services, etc. According to the regulations, patients are now entitled to necessary health care from special health services within a reasonable time.

Patients who have been referred to a specialty health test should receive information on whether they are entitled to emergency assistance after 30 working days, against a normal of 10 working days.

Furthermore, the following rights are temporarily suspended:

  • the right to a renewed medical assessment

  • the right to an individual plan

  • the right to a contact doctor

The regulations also limit the right to free choice of treatment.

The rule that children and adolescents under the age of 23 with mental disorders or drug dependence should get access to necessary health care before 65 working days, is no longer valid as long as the regulations are in force.

1.11 Persons with a higher risk

No particular regulations are in place for people in high risk categories.

1.12 Sanctions

Fines for breach of social distancing rules

The Norwegian police has issued fines in the range of NOK 20.000 - 40.000 for breach of social distancing rules.


2.1 Legal basis

The Norwegian government has passed a temporary Corona Act (see chapter 1.1) and a number of temporary national regulations as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak, hereunder the (i) State Guarantee Loan Scheme Act for small businesses, (ii) Financial Bond Fund Act for large businesses, (iii) Temporary Grant Scheme Act for businesses that have experienced a dramatic fall in turnover. Other measures put forward by the Government includes amendments to the Contributory Pension Schemes Act, the Company Pensions Act, the Public Service Pensions Act, the Insurance Contract Act and the Tax Payment Act.

In addition, there has been made a number of petition resolutions by the Parliament for actions and initiatives to be made by the Government.

2.2 Support measures


Facts and figures

The fiscal measures so far add up to over NOK 139 billion, corresponding to around 4.6 percent of Mainland GDP. In addition, the budget is estimated to be weakened by more than NOK 60 billion by reduced tax revenues and higher expenses due to the economic downturn (automatic stabilizers).

Overall, the oil-adjusted budget balance is estimated to be weakened by NOK 201 billion in 2020.

In addition, the guarantee schemes for SMEs and the Government Bond Fund contribute with at least NOK 100 billion in loans to businesses. Reduced key interest rates also contribute to household- and corporate liquidity through lower debt servicing costs.

National Compensation Scheme

On the 18th of April, the Norwegian government opened for applications to the national Compensation Scheme, which is part of the government’s third package of measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus situation.

The compensation scheme is open for otherwise sustainable businesses with at least 30 percent drop in revenue due to the Corona virus outbreak. The amount of support will depend, among others, on the size of revenue loss, the size of the enterprise’s unavoidable fixed costs and whether the enterprise has been ordered by the government to close.

The Ministry of Finance has made the Tax Administration responsible for implementing and managing the scheme, which is available in English here.

Financial and other economic measures aimed at commerce and industries

The Norwegian government has issued a wide range of economic measures specifically aimed at commerce and industries, mainly:

  • A reduction in employer-paid days from 15 to 2 for temporary lay-offs, from 10 to 3 for care-related leave and from 16 to 3 for corona-related sick leave.

  • Allowing lossmaking companies to re-allocate up to NOK 30 million of the loss in 2020 against taxed surplus from 2018 and 2019 and refunding the tax value of this loss in 2020.

  • Postponing deadlines for payment of value added tax, employer tax, advance tax for self-employed and companies, and several exercise taxes, including CO2.

  • Reduction of the low VAT rate, which includes passenger transport, accommodation and parts of the cultural sector, from 12 to 8 per cent.

  • Suspension of the tax on air passengers, for flights in the period from 1 January until 31 October 2020. Suspension of payments of aviation charges.

  • Purchase of domestic air routes where there is no basis for commercial operations due to the crisis. Budget allocation of NOK 1 billion.

  • An aviation guarantee scheme totalling NOK 6 billion, with a 90 percent government guarantee on each loan. NOK 3 billion is directed to Norwegian Air Shuttle, 1.5 billion to SAS and 1.5 billion to Widerøe and other airlines.

  • Temporary purchase of basic rail transport services (NOK 550 million)

  • Increased funding for Innovation Norway and the Research Council by a total of more than NOK 3 billion, and NOK 1 billion increased investment capital in Investinor.

  • A compensation scheme of NOK 1 billion to pre- and after school cares and day cares.

  • A compensation scheme of NOK 900 million for culture, sport and voluntary sectors.

  • Guarantee and loan schemes for businesses

  • A state guarantee scheme for bank loans to enterprises, with a total guarantee volume of NOK 50 billion. The state guarantees 90 per cent of each bank loan.

The following entered into force on March 27, after approval by the EFTA Surveillance Authority:

  • A government bond fund with an investment budget of NOK 50 billion to increase liquidity and access to capital in the Norwegian bond market.

  • Increased borrowing limit in Innovation Norway’s loans scheme by NOK 1.6 billion.


3.1 Legal basis

Reference is made to the introduction.

3.2 Support measures

Measures aimed at persons

In addition to certain financial measures to businesses with employees as presented in chapter 2.2, the following measures aimed at employees and other private persons have been adopted:

  • An extension of the unemployment benefit scheme by granting benefit from the first day and increasing the daily allowance.

  • Temporary laid off persons are guaranteed 100 per cent compensation until a salary of NOK 599,148. The schemes for temporary laid off and unemployed are also adjusted to include more people.

  • A temporary scheme to secure self-employed and freelancers who are not included in the unemployment benefit scheme and to give self-employed and freelancers sickness benefits from day four.

  • Temporary benefits for apprentices in case of unemployment or temporary layoffs.

  • Skills development measures to improve the skills of unemployed and laid-off persons.

  • A temporary benefit scheme based on social assistance rates for persons outside the EU/EEA area staying in Svalbard.

  • A doubling of the number of days parents can stay home with sick children, and allowing transfer of days between co-parents.

  • Self-employed and freelancers are entitled to the same number of sick-kids days as employees, less a three-day waiting period.

  • Access to loans for students who have lost work income are increased. NOK 1 billion is allocated to convert some of that supplement loan into a grant.

  • Suspension of parents’ pay for pre- and after school cares and day cares during the period they are closed.

Seasonal workers in critical sectors

  • Citizens of EU/EEA countries may enter Norway without a residence permit if they are to work in a sector where there is a critical need for labour. Workers from a EU/ EEA country who are to start a job in sectors including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the food industry are not to be refused entry to Norway.


5.1 Legal basis


5.2 Measures



6.1 Legal basis


6.2 Measures



7.1 Legal basis

Bankruptcy and insolvency

A creditor may normally file a petition for bankruptcy against an insolvent debtor. The creditor has to prove his claim, as well as the debtor’s insolvency. However, there are certain statutory rules for presumption of insolvency.

As a measure against unnecessary bankruptcies during the Covid-19 crisis situation, the government has proposed that the parliament passes a separate "Temporary Reconstruction Act to remedy financial problems as a result outbreak of covid-19 (Reconstruction Act)".

NB! As of 20th April 2020 the Reconstruction Act has not yet been passed. A full overview of the proposal and its consequences is found here. (Norwegian language).

7.2 Measures

Main content of the Temporary Reconstruction Act (proposal)

An important goal with the Reconstruction Act is to give vulnerable companies more means in negotiating with the creditors than it has in the current legislation:

  • Negotiations on reconstruction could begin earlier than today, while the debtor still has funds left. Today, debt negotiation can only be requested when the debtor cannot fulfill his obligations as they mature.

  • It will be easier to adopt a restoration plan.

  • Greater access is granted to full or partial sale of the business and conversion of debt into share capital.

  • It is possible to make temporary exemptions from the right to preferential claims to tax and value added tax (see below).

  • It is possible to secure collateral for loans for financing during the reconstruction with priority over all other mortgagees.

  • The debtor's protection is strengthened against the opening of bankruptcy and the enforcement of compulsory coverage during reconstruction negotiations.

NB! As of 20th April 2020 the Reconstruction Act has not yet been passed. A full overview of the proposal and its consequences is found here. (Norwegian language).

If bankruptcy is declared

If a debtor is declared bankrupt, one or more trustees are appointed by the district court. The trustee(s) assumes full authority over all assets belonging to the estate at the time of the bankruptcy including the debtor’s property. All assets accruing to the estate during the proceedings is subject to the estate’s seizure.

Creditors in possession of pledged assets – such as security, or if related to real estate property, a mortage – will receive coverage from income from or the sale of the pledged property. Costs directly related to administration of the estate will be covered before other creditors receive dividends. If the estate itself cannot cover these claims, the government will cover such costs within certain limitations.

Preferential claims – such as taxes, salaries, etc – are covered before non-preferential claims, which normally receives little or no coverage.

If a tenant is declared bankrupt, the rent is considered as a preferential claim if the estate decides to enter into the lease contract within a four week period and the tenant must pay outstanding rent or provide sufficient security in order to continue the lease. The estate then obtains a three-month notice cancellation right, regardless of the contract. If the estate decides to discontinue the lease, any outstanding rent will be considered as a non-preferential claim.

Similarly, the estate may choose to discontinue agreements with the tenant unless the lease contract is publicly registered, in which case the estate must continue the lease. However, the contract may be set aside in order to cover financial claims with better priority.


8.1 Criminal Law

Criminal law

  • As criminals and others are trying to exploit the COVID-19 crisis, the Government has allocated NOK 5 million to the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) to strengthen the warning system for digital infrastructure by purchasing more sensors for use in critical sectors and organisations.

  • The police are a crucial part of Norway’s emergency services, and the police plays an important role in enforcing measures to prevent the spread of infection. An allocation of NOK 232 million has been provided for the recruitment of up to 400 people to undertake active service with the police. The people recruited will have completed their police training, but are not currently working in the police. They will be employed for a period of six months, with the possibility of an extension to up to a year in total.

  • Fast-track security clearance of personnel is becoming increasingly necessary because of the need for more people with police training and because many employees in other organizations that fulfil critical public functions are either in quarantine or on sick leave. In order to address this situation, the Government is providing an additional allocation of NOK 7 million to the Norwegian Civil Security Clearance Authority.

  • In addition to these measures, a number of ministries are drawing up regulations under the new Corona Act.

8.2 Carrying out sentences

Carrying out sentences

A temporary regulation with regards to carrying out sentences was passed on 27th of March, which inter alia entails the following exceptions from the regular criminal law codes:

Prison visits:

  • The Prison and Probation Service can refuse visits if required for sick leave reasons or if visits cannot be conducted in a manner that is consistent with prevailing health rules.

  • If it is necessary for the inmate to have contact with family through remote communication, the Prison and Probation Service shall attempt to make such communication available.

  • A visit from a lawyer or representative from public authorities can only be denied if it cannot be carried out in a way that is is consistent with prevailing health rules.

In-home detention with electronic control measures:

  • The possibility to carry out sentences outside of prison with electronic control measures is extended to 6 months, against of normal of 4 months.

For probation releases:

  • The regulations allow for a release of a convict on the condition that the probation period is carried out through electronic control measures. Such probation release is only applicable if the convicted consents.

  • Prison sentences:

  • According to the regulations, the Prison and Probation Service can decide that the sentence to be carried out suspended for up to one month with an option to renew such suspension if capacity challenges so requires.

  • Suspension means that the convicted is released for a period, and then come back to carry out the remainder of the sentence when the pandemic is over.