Dangerous Conditions for Ptarmigan Hunters
The weather gods are not cooperating with ptarmigan hunters, and health authorities in Iceland advise them not to travel, albeit for a different reason. The ptarmigan hunting season began yesterday and lasts through November 30, every Friday through Tuesday, that is.
The Icelandic Met Office has issued a yellow alert, effective until 10 pm for Northeast Iceland and the East Fjords and until 6 pm for the Central Highlands.
In Northeast Iceland, a gale or severe gale is expected, as well as snow showers. There will be poor visibility with deteriorating road conditions in elevated areas.
In the East Fjords, a severe gale or storm is expected and dangerous wind gusts near mountains. Traveling is not advised.
For the Central Highlands, a strong gale with blizzard conditions is in the forecast, accompanied by strong wind gusts near mountains. Poor visibility and blowing snow could create hazardous conditions for travelers.
The chief epidemiologist and the Department of Civil Protection and Public Safety issued a statement Saturday, encouraging everyone in the country not to travel, including those who had planned to go ptarmigan hunting. The reason for their advice is stricter disease prevention rules that took effect Friday at midnight.
“Although ptarmigan hunting involves healthy exercise and is a refreshing outdoor activity,” the statement reads, “the travel it involves, in particular travel between districts, is not in line with current restrictions, aimed at containing COVID-19.”
“These measures – the toughest ones regarding public gatherings in the history of the Republic, are intended to reduce all operations, as well as social activities, while we pass the toughest hurdles,” the statement continues. “The health care system is in a tough situation and under stress for a variety of reasons, not solely due to COVID-19, and we must not make matters worse.”
Landowners in Reykjahlíð, Mývatnssveit district, North Iceland, issued a statement yesterday, saying that all ptarmigan hunting will be prohibited on their land for the coming two weeks. The decision was made in response to advice from health authorities.