Coronavirus: No more than 8 people per group allowed at Sweden’s restaurants

Coronavirus: No more than 8 people per group allowed at Sweden's restaurants
No more than eight people may sit at the same table at Sweden's restaurants under the newly introduced rule. Photo: Helena Landstedt / TT
Sweden on Tuesday announced tougher coronavirus measures for the country's restaurants, with a new rule that only groups of eight people or fewer will be permitted.

Restaurants are already under special measures to reduce the spread of infection, which include a minimum one-metre distance between groups.

Under the new rules, no more than eight people will be allowed to share a table.

“We know how dangerous [Covid-19] is, we have nearly 6,000 people dead,” said Löfven.

Asked how the number was decided, Public Health Agency general director Johan Carlson said: “There is no risk-free business or operation in our land when it comes to Covid-19, but there is a practical question, so that restaurants have greater clarity in how to handle guests.”

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The announcement was made at a press conference held by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren and the Public Health Agency's general director Johan Carlson.

Also at Tuesday's press conference, they announced that stricter local measures would be brought in  for three Swedish regions: Halland, Örebro and Jönköping.

After this change, seven out of ten people in Sweden are covered by local measures, which may vary slightly depending on the region but include a binding recommendation to avoid close contact with people from different households. The national recommendations which apply to everyone in Sweden also include a recommendation to avoid large social gatherings.

Carlson explained: “The fact that you can have a maximum of eight doesn't mean that you should have eight people, you should only socialise with your closest circle. If your family is three people, you shouldn't invite five neighbours to go out, you should go out as a family of three.”

The Local asked state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell for clarification on whether the local recommendation to avoid indoor environments applied to restaurants.

“Restaurants are regulated according to other laws and regulations, that's why it's not repeated here. And also for most of the regions we have talked to, they don't really see in their contact tracing that restaurants are a major cause of spread of the disease and that's why we have not repeated the advice here. There is lots of advice on how to avoid the spread in restaurants,” he explained. 


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