Lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have pushed couples apart around the world. But Denmark is now allowing some citizens in cross-border relationships to reunite with their partners.
The government eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, allowing the fiancés and partners of some citizens to enter Denmark from neighboring countries, police and justice officials told CNN.
The relaxed border controls apply only to permanent residents of Denmark’s neighboring nations – Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Couples must also have met regularly in person to be considered under the policy.
The plan has caused controversy in Denmark, as those seeking to cross the border must prove to the police that their relationship is at least six months old.
Following privacy concerns, authorities are updating the law to require only a signed declaration as proof of a qualifying relationship.
“The police requested people to prove the relationship by showing proof. The proof could be love letters or photos or things like that, but that was changed yesterday by the Minister of Justice,” a Danish Police spokesperson said.
For now, the proof requirement remains in force.
“In order for a sweetheart to be allowed to enter Denmark, proof must be provided that the relationship has had a certain duration, basically six months,” the Danish National Police website states.
“Sweethearts must have met regularly in person. Accordingly, sweethearts whose relationship has been based merely on written and phone contact are not deemed to have a worthy purpose under the current entry restrictions.
“Foreigners can freely choose the extent and nature of the proof that they prefer to show to substantiate the relationship with their sweethearts in Denmark,” the website adds.
“An overall assessment will be made at the border as to whether the foreigner will be allowed to enter Denmark.”
Officials are finalizing updates to the law to allow Danes’ partners to cross the border after signing a statement, the country’s Ministry of Justice told CNN.
“There may be some situations where extra control is needed from the police, but as a starting point, it is enough to sign this statement,” Danish Minister of Justice Nick Hækkerup said on Monday.
“If it turns out that 500,000 German partners suddenly come to Denmark, then you might say, ‘There are probably some who are cheating with the rules.’”
As well as applying to romantic partners, the slight border relaxation will also allow people to visit grandparents or visit their holiday homes in Denmark – all of which are considered “worthy purposes.”
All other travelers without a worthy purpose “will be refused entry to Denmark at all internal and external borders,” according to the police website.
The slight border relaxation is the latest step in Denmark’s plan for a “controlled reopening” following coronavirus restrictions.
The country temporarily closed its borders to non-citizens on March 13, to curb the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Justice said Denmark was discussing the next steps for reopening with Nordic countries and Germany. The countries are also putting together a plan for summer tourism, which the Danish government will make a statement on by May 29.
Denmark has more than 11,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 560 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.