EXPLAINED: What to expect when Sweden’s alcohol ban comes into force tonight

EXPLAINED: What to expect when Sweden's alcohol ban comes into force tonight
Revellers in Stureplan enjoying their last weekend before the ban. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Sweden's new ban on alcohol sales after 10pm comes into force this Friday. But it's being interpreted slightly differently in different places. Here's what to expect.
In most places pubs will stop serving at 10pm 
 
In the overwhelming majority of municipalities in Sweden, restaurants and bars will stop serving at 10pm with customers expected to leave by 10.30pm.
 
Sweden's health minister Lena Hallengren said the decision was taken because these venues are “an important risk environment” amid the sharp rise in the spread in the coronavirus.
 
The new ban applies to venues with a licence to serve alcohol, while those which only sell soft drinks and 'folköl', beer containing less than 3.5 percent alcohol, will not be forced to close. 

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

Some municipalities allowing take-out alcohol
 
The municipalities of Malmö, Växjö and Nacka outside Stockholm are allowing pubs and restaurants to sell alcohol for take-out in order to mitigate the expected negative financial impact.
 
This is not usually allowed, given Sweden's alcohol laws which mean state alcohol shop Systembolaget has a monopoly on alcohol sales for consumption at home.
 
The Demokraterna, a local party in Gothenburg, announced on Thursday that it planned to also push for restaurants to be allowed to offer alcohol take-outs, but the proposal has yet to be put to the municipal government.
 
Sedat Arif, the Social Democrat councillor in Malmö, said that the decision might be illegal, given that Sweden's state alcohol shop Systembolaget has a monopoly on take-away alcohol sales. But the city's labour market and social committee passed the decision, saying that home deliveries should be treated as “catering”.


Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / TT
 
Some municipalities are letting restaurants stay open later than 10pm
 
In neighbouring Lund, all pubs and restaurants will be allowed to stay open as normal, so long as they only serve soft drinks and folköl after 10pm. 
 
“No alcoholic drinks apart from 'folköl' should be on the table after 22.30, when alcohol consumption (apart from folköl) should cease completely in just the same way as if guests had left the premises,” Lund municipality told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

This means guests could theoretically remain until 1.30am, since many pubs and restaurants can continue serving till 1am, but they would not be able to order alcohol after 10pm.

 
Will this lead to more parties at home?

The decision to ban alcohol sales after 10pm has been criticised by Visita, the trade body for hotels and restaurants in Sweden. 
 
“The government of course is targeting the fact the people become more careless when they drink alcohol. But it's better for that to happen in a restaurant than at home or at parties, which I'm afraid is going to be the result of this,” Jonas Siljhammar, the organisation's chief executive, told TT. 
 
In other countries, including the UK, curfews on alcohol sales have led to crowding in streets and on public transport with many people leaving pubs at the same time.
 
Sweden's health minister Lena Hallengren said she hoped that people would react responsibly. 
 
“I'm assuming that an absolute majority of the Swedish people will not act in this way, but will instead come together for a period and follow the advice,” she said. 

When announcing the ban, Prime Minister Stefan Löfgren said: “If you think, 'I can't sit at the pub after 10.30pm so I'll have 20, 25 people round at home', that's completely misguided. We are grown-ups who need to be able to take responsibility. We are in a very, very dangerous situation.”
The decision to ban alcohol sales after 10pm has been criticised by Visita, the trade body for hotels and restaurants in Sweden. 
 
“The government of course is targeting the fact the people become more careless when they drink alcohol. But it's better for that to happen in a restaurant than at home or at parties, which I'm afraid is going to be the result of this,” Jonas Siljhammar, the organisation's chief executive, told TT. 
 
But Sweden's health minister Lena Hallengren said she hoped that  people would react responsibly. 
 
“I'm assuming that an absolute majority of the Swedish people will not act in this way, but will instead come together for a period and follow the advice,” she said. 

Member comments

  1. If the the people are affected by the alcohol, please close systembolaget. Ah no, it’s not enough that the state continues to take taxes, no bank has been obliged to freeze loans, and application for “permetering”can take up to 2 months…on top of that they want the biggest share of the cake on their triples increase if alcohol sales in systembolaget. Dream land!

  2. If the the people are affected by the alcohol, please close systembolaget. Ah no, it’s not enough that the state continues to take taxes, no bank has been obliged to freeze loans, and application for “permetering”can take up to 2 months…on top of that they want the biggest share of the cake on their triples increase if alcohol sales in systembolaget. Dream land!

  3. Hi,
    How does this affect alcohol consumption in hotels, I understand the restaurant will be closing at 10 but will we be able to take a drink back to our room or order another from the privacy of the room?

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.