Just before the winter holidays, about 4,000 cottage owners in Oppdal municipality received a text message from the village mayor, Geir Arild Espnes (Sp). The content of the SMS has garnered criticism from the local trade stand, which estimates large turnover losses as a direct consequence of the wording.
It was the local newspaper Opdalingen that first mentioned the case.
In the text message from the municipality, the cabin people were encouraged to make the necessary trade before they arrived in the village.
«(…) In order to limit the infection of covid 19, however, we are concerned with the following: Shop for what you need at the cabin in your home municipality before departure. (…)», It is stated in the text message, reproduced by Opp.
Hundreds of thousands
The content has made Coop Oppdal director, Morten Erik Stulen, react strongly. He estimates a turnover shortfall of approximately NOK 700,000 towards the weekend.
He further points out that the message came in the latest team, and that they thus did not have time to adjust and cancel winter holiday deliveries.
– In addition to fewer customers and reduced turnover, this therefore also means regular wastage for us on both fresh produce and bread, Stulen says to local newspapers.
Niklas Ingdal, store manager for Bunnpris in Oppdal, thinks the mayor’s SMS is poorly thought out.
– It is quite short-sighted, you could say, to send out such an SMS. Especially the Friday before the winter holidays. It is unfortunate, he says to Børsen.
– Could have been avoided
Ingdal believes such a message should have been sent out a week before.
– I understand that the SMS is sent out. It is good in a way that you want to reduce infection. I understand the idea, but the timing was bad.
He follows up:
– We accept product orders, so there will be more waste. By sending out a message a little earlier, you could probably avoid a lot of wastage.
Ingdal emphasizes that he has not calculated whether the SMS may have contributed to a drop in turnover, yet.
Sorry for the wording
Opposite Børsen, the Oppdal mayor emphasizes that the municipality probably would not have sent out the SMS as it stands, today.
– I apologize for the wording of the text message. It is always easy to be wise afterwards, says Espnes.
He explains that the municipality held an extraordinary municipal board meeting last Thursday. Going out with information to the cabin people earlier, was thus not possible.
– There was a lot to do at once, and people were already on their way to their cabins. Thus, we were under pressure to inform everyone about the bandage order before the weekend.
– Created furore
Although an order was issued for a bandage in the municipality, a request was never made to the cottage people to shop before coming to the village.
– When the text message was sent out, we only repeated a message from the Minister of Health which has now unfortunately created a bit of a furore.
– Who wrote the text message?
– I do not want to go into that. As mayor, it is my responsibility anyway.
He emphasizes that it is an unfortunate situation.
– What we would do in the text message today is to inform about bandage orders, infection control rules, and emphasize that the Minister of Health has come up with a recommendation, which we further linked to.
– What do you think about the Coop director estimating a loss of 700,000 kroner?
– There is no reason to doubt the loss of the trade stand, and that the visit to Oppdal’s grocery stores was a little less. It is naturally sad, but also related to infection control. I want to emphasize that the stores in Oppdal have done a formidable job of facilitating an infection-prone trade.