Deserted Buildings on Laugavegur: Video

Vala Hafstað

A stroll down Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavík, gives you a strange feeling, states Hallur Már Hallsson, photographer for Morgunblaðið . Numerous stores have closed their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He counted the number of businesses on the ground floor on Laugavegur and found that 76 were closed, or 39.6 percent, while 116 remain in operation.

Signs, stating ‘for rent’ or ‘closed’ or ‘temporarily closed,’ can be seen in many windows. The reasons vary. Some are closed while strict rules regarding public gatherings are in place and plan to reopen once those are eased. Most of the spaces, though, are completely empty and some have been so for a long time.

From Skólavörðustígur.

From Skólavörðustígur. Morgunblaðið/Sigurður Unnar Ragnarsson

Lack of diversity, too, is to blame, since many merchants are giving up on operating souvenir stores. In recent years, the ratio of souvenir stores downtown has been high. On Thursday, for example, the store Lundinn, on the corner of Bergstaðastræti and Skólavörðustígur, was getting ready to close.

On Skólavörðustígur, 19 stores appear to be closed, while 40 are still in operation, and on Hverfisgata, which is parallel to Laugavegur, 28 businesses appeared to have closed. The same situation can be noted on side streets, although no counting was done there by Hallur.

The housing varies, too. Some spaces count hundreds of square meters and are located in new, expensive buildings, while smaller ones can be found in older buildings.

Take a look at the video above to get a feel for the atmosphere in the capital city these days.


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