Coronavirus: Remote ribbon-cutting ceremony for Norway tunnel | World News



As social distancing continues to lay waste to the rituals of everyday life, people across the world have felt compelled to find creative means of retaining some semblance of normality.

Now Norway’s transport minister has added to a growing list, by performing a remote ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a major undersea tunnel.

A picture shows Knut Arild Hareide alone in his office – apart from a single, socially distanced photographer – to mark the inauguration of the Ryfast road project, linking the Stavanger area with Ryfylke.

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A grander occasion had been planned, but was initially delayed then cancelled amid the onset of the global pandemic – leaving just the transport minister with his scissors, ribbon, some balloons in Norwegian colours and a video link to other officials.

“What I miss most is meeting the people and project managers who have completed a fantastic project,” Mr Hareide told state broadcaster NRK.

“It is unique in a world context, and I would love to be there and thank them.

“This is long-awaited and will make travel easier for both people and businesses in and around Stavanger.”

As the image surfaced online, people were quick to suggest other imaginative alternatives to conventions now rendered impossible by social distancing measures.

One user of online forum Reddit joked: “Last week they launched a new ferry, it was great. He christened it by smashing a bottle of champagne on his desk.”

Norway has begun relaxing its coronavirus-related restrictions in the last week, as Prime Minster Erna Solberg said the early implementation of lockdown measures meant the country now had “managed to get the virus under control”.



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