The branch of Burger King in Stavanger's main square. Photo: Google Maps
The restaurant in Stavanger, the capital of the country's oil industry, was visited by inspectors from the city government late on Saturday night, and judged not to be meeting infection control requirements.
“The restaurant was closed because they did not comply with the guidelines for distance between the customers,” Øyvind Berekvam, a spokesperson for the municipality, told Norway's state broadcaster NRK.
Norway requires all bars and restaurants to ensure that customers and personnel can maintain a distance between one another of at least one metre.
Heidi Moss, the marketing manager for King Food, which has run Burger King's Norway franchise sine 1988, said that the chain was looking at how to make sure there could be no infringements at its other 109 restaurants in the country.
“We are of course taking the event in Stavanger very seriously,” she told NRK. “We want to avoid similar situations and are right now looking at measures that can be implemented.”
She said she was considering where possible putting place a one-way system in restaurants with separate entrances and exits, and also perhaps hiring security guards.
The closure marked the first time a bar or restaurant has been shut down for non-compliance in Stavanger since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.
Runar Johannessen, the head of infection control in Stavanger, said he believed that all nightspots should employ security guards to make sure customers follow distancing requirements.
“It is a challenge to adhere to the guidelines when there is as little contagion as there is now, but with no idea how this develops,” he said.
For example, it may be to return to stay open day and night, guard when there are many guests waiting and differentiated entrance and exit so that there is a one-way walk through the restaurant, according to the marketing manager.