Sweden extends rule of eight to seated events

Sweden extends rule of eight to seated events
A football match with empty stands, pictured earlier this year. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
All public events in Sweden for more than eight people will be banned after the country's regions agreed to lower the limit for seated events from 50 to eight people.

The decision, confirmed to The Local by a press spokesperson for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR), comes a week after the government announced a ban on public events for more than eight people.

The ban applies to public events such as concerts, performances, and sports matches, but not to places like schools or workplaces or to private gatherings. The government has granted an exemption for funerals, which may have up to 20 people present.

And there was also an exception in place for certain sport and cultural events with a seated audience.

For these events, the government raised the maximum limit to 300 people on November 1st, given a Public Health Agency assessment that ensuring distance between participants curbed the risk of spreading infection. However, all regions chose to keep the limit at a maximum of 50 for these events.

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Now, following repeated statements from Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that the 'rule of eight' should “set a norm for the whole of society”, the regions have all chosen to reduce the limit to eight even for these seated events.

“We in all regions agree on an audience limit of eight. With the large spread of infection we have, it is important that it is clear what the rules are. I hope that we quickly succeed in reversing the [infection] trend so that we can eventually raise the audience limit again,” said Anneli Hulthén, county governor of the Skåne region, in a statement.

She said that the regional control over audience limits for seated events would be an advantage once the spread of infection had been brought under control, saying: “We can decide for ourselves when it is time to raise the audience limit, hopefully up to 300.”

The ban on public events of more than eight people formally comes into effect on November 24th.


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