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Stockholm in December 2020, Source: Visit Stockholm

Sweden imposes toughest corona restrictions so far

Sweden imposes toughest corona restrictions so far

Caps on customers in shops and restaurants, facemasks in public transport

Faced with Covid-19 hospital wards near capacity and hard-pressed medical staff working overtime, the Swedish government announced on Friday its toughest restrictions since the onset of the pandemic. Most curbs, phrased as more imperative health recommendations, will apply from 24 December to 24 January, covering the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Restaurants to close early with attendance caps

From 24 December, a maximum of four people can sit together at the same table in restaurants. Restaurants and bars will have to close at 8.30 pm, and cease serving alcohol half an hour earlier.

Caps are also introduced for visitors of shopping centres and gyms, with the exact maximum number determined by the size of the premises. The Swedish Public Health Agency urges all physical stores to refrain from the traditional mid-day sale in order to reduce congestion.

Face masks in public transport

From 7 January, public transport users will be required to wear face masks or other type of mouth protection in rush hours when congregation cannot be avoided.

From now until January 24, work should be done from home wherever possible. This applies to all state, regional and municipal institutions, and the private sector.  

All activities within the state, municipalities and regions that are not deemed essential should be terminated immediately until 24 January. This applies, for example, to bathhouses, sports halls and museums.

Distance learning

High schools will have to perform educational activities remotely until 24 January. Upper secondary special schools are exempt.

The government warns that if these measures prove to be insufficiently effective in stemming the spread of Covid-19, then the introduction of an emergency legislation allowing authorities to close shops and gyms will be unavoidable.

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