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The hunt for the last fan in Sweden: How the heatwave left Swedes sweating

Sweden's prolonged heatwave this summer has left locals scrambling for ways to keep cool, and led to unexpected consequences. The Local contributor Viktoriia Zhuhan went searching for the last electric fan in Sweden.

The hunt for the last fan in Sweden: How the heatwave left Swedes sweating
File photo of an electric fan. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

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The only electric fan you can find in Malmö’s Jula store is the one cooling down the client service desk. In chain Bauhaus, which is located in the nearby Svagerstorp area, the situation is the same. As Sweden is going through another “hottest summer day in history”, stores had long run out of fans and air conditioners and the next supply is not arriving anytime soon.

READ ALSO: Sweden experiences hottest July in 260 years

“Anyone knows ANYWHERE that still has fans in stock?” reads a desperate message in a Malmö expat Facebook group on July 25th. Emma Gould from Eslov, 30, checked out a dozen household appliances stores in Malmö and Lund. “Basically every place we went to said they had completely sold out,” she tells The Local in a message, and “most staff laughed when we asked as we were obviously not the first ones”.

The Local’s request about fans or air conditioning was the “59th since (the) morning,” according to the Bauhaus worker. He recommended calling the store shortly before visiting as any new supply gets sold immediately. German chain Mediamarkt still had a sign up reading “we are sold out of AC and fans” when The Local visited, but the staff showed several dozen boxes with floor fans that had just arrived. Their recommendation was similar: if you want to get it, buy it quick.

With good reason. A petrol station in Nättraby sold a fan for a four-digit price at an auction on July 30th, Expressen reported. According to the station owner, it was “the last fan in Sweden”.

Staff at Rusta, Electrolux, and Elgiganten in Malmö told The Local they were not getting any more new fans this season; at Jala, Bauhaus, and Mediamarkt the staff said they were receiving a small supply that will run out quickly. 

According to the press officers at Bauhaus and Elgiganten, sales this summer went up so much that the stores went out of stock across the country. Electrolux, which manufactures air conditioners, produced more this year for the Swedish market but they sold out at many of their retailers. 

“We are doing everything we can to provide more ACs to Sweden, but the lead time for production and transportation of the products is unfortunately long and it takes at least three months for the products to be back in stock,” wrote Arba Kokalari, Electrolux Group PR manager, in an email to The Local.

Justine Yuk Hua Chan from Malmö, 41, is not impressed with those explanations. She hasn’t seen fans run out of stock in six years in Sweden until now.

“The weather was already unusually warm into spring so you’d think the stores would capitalize on this and ensure the supply. I reckon people would be willing to pay to just grab a fan from the stores,” she wrote. Frustrated with the limited supply, Chan bought her fan through Amazon.

Sweden's national weather forecaster SMHI thinks differently, arguing the 2018 summer heatwave was not easy to predict. And early this spring, when cold weather embraced the whole country, nobody expected such a drastic turn to incredibly hot weather soon after.

READ ALSO: Tropical nights and lightning storms thunder through Sweden

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Record crowds on southern Swedish beaches despite coronavirus warnings

Temperatures of 30 degrees and up have caused southern Swedish sun worshipers to flock in record numbers to beaches and bathing areas.

Record crowds on southern Swedish beaches despite coronavirus warnings
Långholmsbadet, Stockholm in Saturday's 30-degree August heat. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The police can do nothing about the congestion as long as no crimes are committed, as the Public Order Act which bans public gatherings of more than 50 people does not cover beaches and bathing areas. 

In Tylösand outside Halmstad, as many as 40,000 beach visitors gathered on Saturday.

At Kämpingestranden in Höllviken in Skåne, there has been a record number of visitors with over 10,000 guests, reports Kvällsposten. 

“It is an uncontrollable chaos. It is completely full”, says Pontus Carlsson, head of security at Falsterbonäset's lifeguard, to the newspaper.

According to Carlsson, it is impossible to get down to the beach due to the congestion. For security reasons, he does not let his staff walk around among the guests. 

“Where I stand now I do not see sand, I only see people.”

He and the staff have been forced to turn away cars that intended to park incorrectly. 

“It gets quite an angry atmosphere quite quickly, when everyone just goes to the beaches in a completely panicked way.”

The police in the South region have not responded to any cases in beach and bathing areas on Sunday.

“Ensuring that people keep their distance during corona times is not a police task.  In general, some land is privately owned and some is municipally owned, but no land belongs to the police.

“Our mission is order and safety – we come when people start threatening and fighting or when there is an accident,” police spokesman Ewa-Gun Westford told TT.

“I know that Simrishamn municipality and the road association produced a temporary emergency solution yesterday in Knäbäck outside Rörum beach. They put up signs that said ‘full – please choose another beach’.

Westford says that throughout her life in Österlen she has never experienced such crowds. 

“I'm out walking my dog ​​in Ystad now, and it's completely insane. There are an incredible number of people.”

The ban on gathering more than 50 people does not apply to beaches and bathing areas, but only to activities that can be classified as public gatherings or public events. 

Crowded in Pålsundet in Saturday's 30-degree August heat. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT 

It includes theatre performances, cinemas, concerts, amusement parks, sporting events, dance performances, markets, street parties, festivals, demonstrations, lectures, religious gatherings and fairs. 

These events are regulated by the Public Order Act, which means that organisers risk being sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of six months if the ban is broken. 

For other environments and activities where many people gather, the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations apply, which are not statutory.