Icelanders Flock to Pools at Midnight

Vala Hafstað

After being closed since March 24, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, swimming pools in many parts of Iceland reopened at midnight to the delight of the nation.

Long lines formed in front of many pools. The guests were mostly young people, and the atmosphere in the lines resembled that in front of night clubs and bars in downtown Reykjavík on a regular weekend. No wonder, since these are the largest public gatherings in Iceland since March 16, when a ban on public gatherings was first imposed.

Mbl.is witnessed the opening of Laugardalslaug swimming pool in Reykjavík. The maximum number of guests allowed there was 350, and more than 300 guests had arrived by the time the reporter left.

In the video above, you can see the long line that formed in front of Laugardalslaug, hear the guests count down the seconds until the pool opened, and watch the happy crowd get its feet wet.

The 2-meter social distancing rule turned out to be hard to enforce, and the hot tubs were definitely the main attraction.

The pools remained open overnight, and some guests showed up at 3, 4 and 5 am. After 6 am, older guests replaced the young ones – retirees and other regular guests - happy to get back into their daily routine.

Keeping the pools open overnight was a one-time event. From now on, they will operate during regular hours. For now, pools may only admit 50 percent of the maximum approved number of guests their operating license allows. As of June 1, that ratio will increase to 75 percent, and on June 15, they will finally be able to operate at full capacity.

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