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What changes about life in Sweden in July 2020?

What changes about life in Sweden in July 2020?
A Qatar Airways plane takes off from Stockholm's Arlanda airport as travel regulations start to relax. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
From travel regulations to compensation for coronavirus risk groups, here are some of the important changes taking place in Sweden this July.

Advice against travel from Sweden lifted for several European countries

Foreign Ministry guidance against non-essential travel to some EU/Schengen countries is lifted for ten EU/EEA countries: Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, Spain and the Vatican. This means that tourism trips to these places have the go-ahead from this date. For other countries within the EU/EEA, the advice against travel remains in place until at least July 15th.

The Foreign Ministry guidance isn't related to the risk of coronavirus, but travel bans and the risk of getting stranded overseas, so the countries have been chosen based on their lack of restrictions for people from Sweden. 

Foreign Ministry advice against travel isn't a legally binding ban, but it has other implications, for example meaning travel insurance may not be valid if you travel against official guidance.

And lifting the ban has other implications, including greater demand for flights and package holidays. Airline Norwegian is restarting 76 flights from July 1st, including ten international flights from Sweden and three Swedish domestic routes.

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Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Sweden starts opening to non-EU tourists

As part of an EU-wide agreement, Sweden has had its borders closed to people from outside the EU/EEA since an early stage in the coronavirus outbreak. 

But from July 4th, it will reopen to tourists from 14 countries. Read the full list here.

The entry ban has been extended to August 31st for everyone else, but a few more exceptions have been added, including ones that make it easier for residence/student permit holders to move to Sweden.

There are several other exceptions to the ban, which you can read about here

For people in Sweden hoping to travel outside the EU, bear in mind that this change only refers to travel into Sweden. Foreign Ministry advice against travel from Sweden remains in place until August 31st for countries outside the EU/EEA. 

Local councils take over responsibility for crowd checks in restaurants and bars

Restaurants, bars and cafes should be following Sweden's rules to avoid crowding, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. That includes only offering table service, ensuring distance between patrons, and ensuring that the venue doesn't get too busy.

Previously it has been up to local authorities' environmental departments to carry out checks and for infectious disease doctors to take the decision to close venues if necessary. From July 1st, municipal councils take on that responsibility, a move aimed at making the process more efficient.

Venues found to violate the crowding rules are usually asked to close temporarily until they can show they have put in place effective measures. Municipalities have been given 75 million kronor to carry out the checks, with an additional 5.5 million going to regions to support the individual municipalities. 


Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Compensation for people in risk groups unable to work

Persons who are in groups at high risk of serious illness from Covid-19 who aren't able to work as a result are entitled to what's called 'preventative sickness benefit' from July 1st until the end of September.

The compensation is capped at a maximum of 804 kronor for 90 days. To be eligible, you must work in a job that can't be done from home, whether you're an employee or self-employed, and have a medical certificate proving the illness.

But although the rule came into effect on July 1st, the money will be paid out in a lump sum later, and it will only be possible to apply from late August. Read more about the rules and which risk groups it applies to on the Social Insurance Agency's website.

Increased protection for victims of 'honour crimes' and child marriages

Crimes where the motive is assessed as being to “preserve or restore honour” will be seen as aggravated crimes, meaning that harsher penalties and sentences can be applied.

It will also become illegal to persuade or allow a child to enter into marriage or a “marriage-like relationship”, and social services will have the power to issue bans on overseas travel in order to protect children at risk of being taken abroad for the purpose of child marriage or genital mutilation.

Only in 2018 did Sweden stop recognising all child marriages carried out overseas (previously there had been exceptions, as long as the child was over the age of 15 at the time of marriage, it was legal in the country where it took place, and both partners consented).


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