Work quarantine

In the event of vital necessity to ensure continued operations or to complete projects that cannot wait, it is possible to apply for a work quarantine arrangement for employees from overseas. This only applies if it is possible to fulfil mandatory infection prevention measures as per the instructions issued by the Chief Epidemiologist.

As a rule, contractors cannot apply for work quarantine for themselves. The buyer must make the application, as he is responsible for conditions in the workplace and has a more comprehensive view of the workforce that needs to be located in the workplace.

Foreign entities who apply for work quarantine are to do so through Icelandic partners or agents.

Work quarantine is not available to individuals who are in quarantine due to their close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

The conditions for work quarantine:

  1. Urgent need for the work contribution of the employee in question in the opinion of management to ensure continued operations and which other employees cannot undertake.
  2. A negative result from screening must be obtained before the employee enters the workplace.
  3. Ensure that general rules on quarantine are followed as are specially designed rules that are appropriate to the conditions of the project.
  4. Obligation to provide information to all involved parties.

Applicants for work quarantine for employees/contractors coming from overseas are responsible for ensuring that conditions in the workplace fulfil infection prevention rules and for ensuring that employees follow the requisite infection prevention rules. This entails:

Obligations to provide information

  1. Ensure that supervisors are aware that their employees will come into contact with persons who are in quarantine and that they have given permission thereto. They are to be familiar with the infection prevention rules according to the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist, seeing as employees are their responsibility.
  2. Ensure that all service providers at accommodation facilities, the workplace and as regards transportation are aware of persons who are in quarantine.
  3. Inform other employees at the workplace that there are quarantined employees in the workplace and advise them of instructions relating to infection prevention rules during work quarantine.
  4. Ensure that the Office of the Chief Epidemiologist is informed of all those who are to be registered in work quarantine as well as all those who will be in contact with employees in work quarantine.


  1. Ensure that employees in work quarantine have separate living quarters, i.e. such as separate rooms, with separate hygiene facilities and separate facilities to eat in and that the necessary resources, such as hygiene materials, food and other requirements are provided. At the workplace, there must be separate facilities to eat in as well as separate hygiene facilities.
  2. All property or equipment of employees in quarantine must be stored in their living quarters and not in foyers or other shared areas in the building.
  3. Access to shared areas must be limited as far as possible, and persons in work quarantine must make every effort to avoid touching what others use in shared areas unless such surfaces are disinfected immediately thereafter, i.e. door handles/knobs, light switches, etc.
  4. Employees in work quarantine shall remain in their pre-defined workstation while in work quarantine and shall not roam about the workplace while other employees are working. Unnecessary visits to other parts of the workplace are undesirable while in work quarantine.
  5. Holding meetings with persons in work quarantine is not recommended. If such meetings are unavoidable, all attendees must be informed about the persons in work quarantine and permission must be obtained from their supervisors. Care must be taken to ensure that the location of the meeting is sufficiently large to enable attendees to maintain applicable social distance limits among themselves and that a distance of at least 2 metres are between the attendees in work quarantine and those not in quarantine. The location must be properly ventilated and have good acoustics so that attendees do not need to raise their voices. Face masks and disinfectant are to be available at the meeting. Care must be taken to ensure that those who are in work quarantine do not share cutlery with others and that they have access to a separate area for meals and to rest and separate hygiene facilities. In addition, service providers are to be informed of the quarantine.
  6. Employees in work quarantine may not interact with the general public or spend time in restaurants and cafés. Face masks and hand sanitiser must be used and contact surfaces disinfected if using public areas, and the time spent therein must be as short as possible.
  7. Employees in work quarantine must be ensured safe modes of travel. Employees in work quarantine may not use public transport, such as scheduled domestic flights or buses. They may, however, use rental cars or taxis provided that the company in question is informed of the quarantine when the vehicle is booked. If travelling for long distances, efforts shall be made to keep stops where people congregate to a minimum.

If travel by ferry is necessary, the company must be informed of the work quarantine.

General infection prevention at work

  1. An employee in work quarantine must undergo a PCR screening test on arrival in Iceland. The employee in question may not begin work before a negative result from the first screening test has been obtained.
  2. Effective social distancing rules must always be followed, both by employees in quarantine and co-workers.
  3. Service providers must always be informed that the person in question is in quarantine.
  4. Face masks are to be used in common areas where it is not possible to maintain social distancing, i.e. on the way to and from work, if the person in question needs to pass through public areas or take a taxi.
  5. The employee is to maintain hand sanitation in accordance with basic infection prevention measures and at a minimum before and after interaction in common areas, before and after use of equipment in the workplace, before and after the use of lavatories and before and after consumption of meals. If gloves are used while working (work gloves or disposable gloves), hand sanitisation must be employed before and after the use of gloves. See instructions on the intelligent use of gloves.
  6. General rules on quarantine apply outside the workplace.

In the event of the slightest suspicion of flu-like symptoms, the employee may not enter the workplace. The employee must notify his supervisor, remain in the quarantine living quarters and contact the health centre. Information on symptoms and responses thereto may be found on the website

In the event of an infection, the conditions for work quarantine will be cancelled, the infected person will enter isolation and any contacts will be placed in quarantine.

In the event of any violations of the rules on quarantine in these circumstances, the permit for work quarantine will be cancelled. Violations of quarantine laws and rules established thereunder are subject to fines or imprisonment for up to three months, as provided for in Article 19 of Act No. 19/1997.


Assessment of applications for work quarantine

The Chief Epidemiologist assess each application in light of the above conditions and grants approval for work quarantine if the description of conditions indicates that it is possible to maintain quarantine in the workplace and that the material needs of employees in work quarantine will be met adequately both in the workplace and living quarters.

Employees in work quarantine are specified in applications for work quarantine and are registered in the tracing database of the Department of Civil Protection.

Persons who are not in quarantine and who need to be in contact with people in work quarantine are also registered specifically with the Chief Epidemiologist in order to facilitate tracing in the event of infection, as well as to ensure employers' information provision obligations towards them.

Application process for work quarantine:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the above rules on work quarantine and home quarantine provided on the website of the Directorate of Health.
  2. Make sure that all requested information is stated in the application form and complete the checklist for work quarantine.
  3. Provide a detailed description of conditions in the workplace and the accommodation in the reasoning for the application.
  4. Send the application by e-mail to labelled "Vinnusóttkví – (name of company)." The application must be sent in WORD.DOC format. Your reasoning and the completed checklist must be sent in the same e-mail. Applications that are not acceptably prepared or sent in another format than WORD.DOC will not be accepted.
  5. The representative of the Chief Epidemiologist will send a response to applicants. The response will either reject or approve the work quarantine application. Approvals will be accompanied by instructions that must be forwarded to employees undergoing work quarantine as well as to those who will come into contact with such employees.
  6. a. In the event of changes to the date of arrival, location of accommodation or workplace of the employee in work quarantine, the applicant must send updated information to the Chief Epidemiologist.
    b. In the event of changes to the workforce, a new application must be submitted.

Information on work quarantine in English
Information on work quarantine in other languages
Information on effective restrictions on gatherings and on social distancing
Regulation No. 800/2020 on quarantine, isolation and COVID-19 screening at Iceland's borders
Regulation No. 2051/2020 on restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Instructions for lodgings providing quarters for persons under quarantine
Instructions for restaurants and hotels

List of accommodations that welcome guests in quarantine

Fyrst birt 09.11.2020

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