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Home* News and Stories → Coro­na tests for Spits­ber­gen tra­vel­lers, tou­rism in hea­vy seas

Coro­na tests for Spits­ber­gen tra­vel­lers, tou­rism in hea­vy seas

Coro­na test requi­re­ments: dif­fi­cult in real life

Sin­ce last Fri­day, all tra­vel­lers to Spits­ber­gen need to show a nega­ti­ve coro­na test that mus not be older than 24 hours. This requi­re­ment comes from the Nor­we­gi­an health minis­ter and it was com­mu­ni­ca­ted on Thurs­day after­noon, just a cou­p­le of hours befo­re it came into for­ce. Local aut­ho­ri­ties, inclu­ding the Sys­sel­man­nen and the com­mu­ni­ty admi­nis­tra­ti­on in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, were not invol­ved. It is, howe­ver, dif­fi­cult to get a test pri­or to depar­tu­re in Oslo or Trom­sø. The­re is a test sta­ti­on for rapid tests at the air­port in Trom­sø, but will soon be clo­sed accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten. This lea­ves tra­vel­lers from Trom­sø with the opti­on for PCR tests, but it takes usual­ly 2-3 days to get the result. Not hel­pful if the requi­red maxi­mum is 24 hours.

Coronatest, Spitsbergen

Coro­na-test on the way to Spits­ber­gen.

The­re is not much more offi­cial infor­ma­ti­on than the hint that all tra­vel­lers are them­sel­ves respon­si­ble to get a valid test in time.

Tour ope­ra­tors in Lon­gye­ar­by­en put staff on lea­ve

The­re is cur­r­ent­ly hard­ly any inter­na­tio­nal traf­fic to Spits­ber­gen. Tra­vel­lers come almost exclu­si­ve­ly from main­land Nor­way, both locals and tou­rists, in num­bers that are a faint shadow of what Lon­gye­ar­by­en was used to until 2019. Major local tour ope­ra­tors have now told Sval­bard­pos­ten to put employees on lea­ve: Hur­tig­ru­ten Sval­bard will send about 40 out of 100 employees home, for part of their time or ful­ly, while 20 of 70 staff of Sval­bard Adven­tures will loo­se 50 % of their work soon. It is uncer­tain when they can return to their work­pla­ces again ful­ly (or at all). Nor­mal­ly, Febru­a­ry would be the start of the important local win­ter sea­son.

Public money does not reach the com­pa­nies as nee­ded

John Einar Lockert, head of Sval­bard Adven­tures in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, feels hims­elf made a fool by govern­men­tal finan­cial aids and regu­la­ti­ons. Com­pa­nies who deci­ded to keep their ope­ra­ti­on up and run­ning lose rights to fun­ding. Ins­tead, the­re are fun­dings for rest­ruc­tu­ring mea­su­res, some­thing many com­pa­nies do cur­r­ent­ly not have any eco­no­mi­c­al power for. Spon­ta­ne­ous regu­la­to­ry initia­ti­ves such as the requi­re­ment for coro­na tests for tra­vel­lers which was intro­du­ced after only a few hours of warning time are not expe­ri­en­ced as hel­pful.

Tourism: in heavy seas due to corona

Tou­rism is, due to coro­na, cur­r­ent­ly in hea­vy seas.

Self-employ­ed peop­le often out in the rain

Not only artists, but also one-man-com­pa­nies wit­hin tou­rism are often just left without public sup­port, in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Ger­ma­ny and other coun­tries. Self-employ­ed gui­des, for examp­le, who usual­ly offer their ser­vices to com­pa­nies on a con­tract-basis, try to enga­ge them­sel­ves in crea­ti­ve solu­ti­ons whe­re­ver pos­si­ble, and as soon as this is not avail­ab­le any­mo­re, they use up their reser­ves and then depend on part­ners, fami­lies and friends.

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last modification: 2021-02-04 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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