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Sweden’s new Pandemic Law takes effect

Sweden’s new Pandemic Law takes effect

Compulsory restrictions are introduced for shops, gyms and bathhouses; rule-breaking businesses will be fined and eventually closed

Sweden is still lockdown-shy, but is saying goodbye to the sole reliance on voluntary measures in its fight to limit the spread of Covid-19. On Friday the Riksdag, the country’s unicameral parliament passed a long-overdue Pandemic Law which gave the government greater powers to manage the crisis, circumventing constitutional constraints. Acting in line with the temporary legislation, the Swedish Public Health Agency has decided on new, compulsory regulations that are coming into force today.

New social distancing rules

From 10 January, shops, shopping malls, gyms and bathhouses must calculate the number of visitors so that there is a minimum of 10 square metres per person inside. In addition, businesses must clearly indicate at all entrances to their premises how many visitors are allowed to stay in at the same time. 

A cap of eight participants is introduced for indoor parties and other private events. Businesses that break the rules risk fines and, ultimately, closure.

The new rules are largely based on the general guidelines issued by the Health Agency and will complement the existing rules and restrictions that apply during the pandemic.

”We welcome the additional tools that the Pandemic Act and the Government Ordinance give us, but it is still each person's own responsibility to follow the basic general advice that is most important for us in mitigating the effects of the pandemic,” says Johan Carlson, Director General of the Public Health Agency, quoted by

High schools can switch to distance learning

The government has also decided that from 11 January upper secondary schools will be able to conduct distance education. The aim is to avoid congestion on the school's premises and public transport. 

Face masks in public transport

As part of previous Health Agency recommendations, from 7 January public transport users are advised to wear face masks during rush hours on weekdays (7-9h and 16-18h). Each passenger has a personal responsibility to bring their own face coverings. Where this requirement has not been met for acceptable reasons, public transport providers have been instructed to ensure paid availability of face masks in vehicles.

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