Two-Sheep Rule and No Sharing of Song-Enhancing Liquid
The roundup of sheep is just around the corner in Iceland, but this year, farmers, just like the rest of the nation, must adhere to disease prevention rules , making the format of the events different than usual.
Here, the 2-meter social distancing rule must be respected, or what Chief Inspector Rögnvaldur Ólafsson appropriately called “the two-sheep rule” at yesterday’s news conference, that is, keeping at least two sheep between you and the next person.
As few people as possible are allowed to go to the mountains to herd the sheep, and strict rules regarding disease prevention must be followed in the mountain huts where they stay overnight.
In pre-COVID-19 times, the roundup of sheep would be a most social event, attended by large crowds and open to all – a time to share stories, songs and a flask of social lubricant, sometimes referred to in Icelandic as söngvatn , or literally ‘song water,’ since the strong liquid tends to remove people’s inhibitions when it comes to singing.
This year, sharing good stories is still allowed, but sharing a flask is another story. At the news conference yesterday, Rögnvaldur advised people not to share social lubricants, or ‘song water,’ during the roundup, since such sharing would obviously not be sensible during a pandemic.
Preventing infections at farms, he stated, is essential, since the work that needs to be done there cannot be postponed.
This year, the 100-person limit for social gatherings must be respected - although children born 2005 or later are not counted - and only those with specific work to do may enter the roundup area. Anyone who attends the events must enter through a guarded gate. Finally, people who have recently been abroad must have completed the required quarantine and testing for the coronavirus.