Here’s how shops around Sweden are responding to new social distancing guidelines

Sweden this week introduced new regulations that mandate businesses and shops to take measures to encourage social distancing, such as increasing space in queues for cash tills and limiting customer numbers.

Here's how shops around Sweden are responding to new social distancing guidelines
Some Systembolaget stores have introduced queue systems to avoid large numbers of shoppers at one time. Photo: Jessica Gow / TT

The Local asked a range of supermarkets and other major retailers around the country how they were dealing with the new guidelines. Here's what we were told.


Pharmacy chain Apoteket urged people in risk groups or aged over 70 to either order medicines online or arrange for someone else to collect them via proxy.

“To help people keep their distance, all pharmacies have put out tape around cash tills and prescription collection so that the appropriate distance is clear. We will also soon have plexiglass at tills.

“We also have other measures which we can take, such as limiting the number of customers inside at one time and allowing them in in turns. This is already happening at some individual pharmacies.

“In a situation with more spread of the disease, we can also at short notice restructure the pharmacy so that we have a window by the entrance, and can pass out medicines and other products through this window. We have this solution in one pharmacy in Iggesund today, since the doctors' surgery next door cares for people who have Covid-19.”

Kronans Apotek

“Among other things, we have put out signs and floor stickers to keep a distance of 1.5-2 metres between customers. Pharmacies can also decide to limit the numbers of customers inside.

“We have also urged customers via social media that if you feel unwell or are in a risk group, you shouldn't go to a pharmacy. Instead, we try to connect customers to online options or inform them about using a proxy. We also have an option to ring ahead, then we prepare the medicines so you can just come and collect them.

“We have attached plexiglass shields to counters at some pharmacies and will roll this out to all our pharmacies where it may be appropriate.”

“Employees wash their hands often, especially after handling cash, and regularly clean all surfaces that are touched. To further protect risk groups, these week we have sent hand sanitiser to Gustavsbergs Vårdcentral and the organisation Vid din sida which supports homeless elderly people and pensioners in poverty.”


“We have among other things marked out a reasonable distance in queues at cash tills and other places where queues may form, and we have signs around our stores to remind us all to keep distance.

“We are following the World Health Organisation's recommendations and asking our customers to keep at least a one-metre distance.”

Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT


“We will from now on limit the number of customers in our shops at the same time, if there are large numbers. This applies above all to weekends and for example before Easter, when we expect an increased number of customers.

“All shops will soon have stickers on the floor and signs reminding customers to keep their distance in queues. We have already intensified cleaning routines and followed guidelines regarding hand hygiene. Employees with the slightest cold symptoms stay at home.” 


“We are looking at which concrete measures we need to put in place to ensure we live up to [the new recommendations].

“We have already set up stickers on the floor at cash tills to remind people to keep their distance. That information is also shown, for example, on TV at the shops and at signs by the entrance. We have also put up plexiglass at the tills to protect employees and customers while paying, when it's hard to keep the recommended distance.

“As for helping the most vulnerable groups, we offer online shopping and we support initiatives such as God Hjälp which connects volunteers with people in risk groups.”

Mall of Scandinavia

“To help limit the spread of infection, we have for a few weeks, among other things, adjusted our cleaning routines, while also urging all people in the Westfield Mall of Scandinavia to use soap and hand sanitiser, which is available in the mall.

“Based on the new government directive, we have also provided information to all our tenants about what the new decision means and asked them to be responsible for complying with these guidelines in their particular store or restaurant.

“We also have a close and good dialogue with our security guards in place, who have now been given updated instructions to ensure that the authorities' guidelines are followed and that there are no large crowds of people.”

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