Melby commented on Halloween at a press briefing on Thursday reported by Norwegian media including Aftenposten.
Increasing cases of coronavirus in parts of the country have resulted in new national measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and local restrictions are in place in Oslo and Bergen.
The national measures include a limit on social gatherings, meaning that a maximum of five friends or family may be invited to any private gathering.
Exemptions to this rule apply for children of kindergarten age and school children who are hosting Halloween or birthday parties – they are allowed to invite more than five friends.
Melby reiterated this exemption for kids in comments to the press, and said it was important to keep such celebrations within normal class or friendship groups to avoid leaving anyone out, according to Aftenposten’s report.
“I sympathise with teachers and other staff who think it’s hard to find solutions. But also with young people who will have a boring autumn,” Melby said.
The approach contrasts with neighbouring Denmark, where authorities have advised against traditional Halloween celebrations. Denmark currently has a nationwide assembly limit of 10 people and more Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations than Norway.
The exemption only applies to young children, however. Secondary schools (ungdomsskole) and further education (videregående skole) are not allowed to have extended Halloween parties.
Bjørn Guldvog, director of the Norwegian health authority, said that children also do not need to observe social distancing rules and that parties can take place for children from the same group or cohort. The health official also stressed the importance of including children who might find themselves otherwise left out.
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