- Norwegian leader fined for breaking coronavirus social distancing rules
- The party was exposed by the country’s media, bringing it to the attention of the police
- Fine imposed in order to uphold the general public’s trust in the rules on social restrictions
Norway‘s Prime Minister Erna Solberg was fined 20,000 Norwegian crowns ($2,352) for violating strict coronavirus social distancing rules imposed by her own government.
According to the the chief of the south-east police district, the fine was imposed on the prime minister for organizing a family gathering to celebrate her 60th birthday.
While in most cases, a fine would actually be a rather symbolic gesture and would not enforced, Erna Solberg was made an example of as she had been spearheading the tough restrictions herself, the police chief said.
“It is therefore correct to issue a fine in order to uphold the general public’s trust in the rules on social restrictions,” police official stated.
The gathering – said to be a sushi party – was hosted by the Prime Minister in February. Solberg held the party with 13 family members at a mountain resort, even though her government had banned gatherings of more than 10 people to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
The party was soon exposed by the country’s media, bringing it to the attention of the police. Solberg did not try to deny her involvement, promptly issuing an apology.
“I am sorry that my family and I have broken the corona[virus] regulations – that should never have happened,” Solberg wrote on Facebook shortly afterwards. “We of course should have followed all the recommendations, as I have asked you to do.”
Others involved in the ill-fated event, including the restaurant that hosted the party, as well as the PM’s husband, Sindre Finnes, faced no legal consequences. While they were found guilty of breaking the rules, the blame was pinned solely on the Prime Minister.
“Solberg is the country’s leader, and she has been at the forefront of the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus,” the police chief said.