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Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
An employee sets up distance markers in a shopping centre in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT

Christmas travel ban unlikely in Sweden

The Public Health Agency has said it will announce coronavirus measures for the Christmas season next week, but state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says a total ban on non-essential travel won't happen.

“We will not end up with some kind of total travel ban,” he told Thursday's press conference. “It will be possible to travel, but you have to do it in a very responsible way.”

Under current recommendations, people in certain regions are urged to avoid non-essential travel within and from the region, while in most places, a recommendation to avoid public transport applies if possible. Under national recommendations, everyone in Sweden is asked to choose alternative methods of transport (ideally private means such as a car, cycling or walking, or an option where you can pre-book a ticket if those are not possible) instead of public transport as much as they can.

Of course, for people living in a different country to their family, Christmas travel is a different question. There are still many restrictions on international travel, particularly to non-EU countries, and limited flight availability.

Swedish vocabulary: travel ban – reseförbud

A woman on a flight from Gothenburg, Sweden. File photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Black Friday: Watch out for false sales and infection risk

Today is Black Friday, and the American tradition of post-Thanksgiving sales has caught on in Sweden, with many retailers offering discounts and special offers. But the deals may not be as good as it seems, with the Swedish Consumer Agency warning that some retailers artificially inflate prices during the autumn so that discounts appear larger.

“You should plan your purchases and try to keep track of a product's price level. This can be done, for example, via a price comparison site,” a lawyer at the agency, David Ånesjö, told the TT newswire.

The Public Health Agency and government officials have repeatedly urged people to avoid crowds and big shopping trips in-person for non-essential items.

“Tomorrow is Black Friday, and I want to underline that this year there must not be crowding in shops and businesses. Avoid big shopping trips,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Thursday. Regional recommendations in place in most of Sweden require people to avoid indoor environments including shops as well as museums and gyms, with an exception for essential activities such as to grocery stores or pharmacies.

Swedish vocabulary: sale – rea

Companies to get extra coronavirus support until the year-end

Companies receiving financial support for reduced turnover due to the pandemic will be eligible for more money than previously announced, after the government agreed with its partners the Centre and Liberal parties on the details.

Additional support for short-term lay-offs, which tops up the pay of employees who temporarily have no work, will be in place until next summer. Support for loss in turnover will also be in place until at least the end of 2020.

The government and its partners have now agreed on the threshold at which companies will be eligible for support. They will need to have lost at least 40 percent in turnover during the August-October period, and 30 percent during the November-December period. According to the TT newswire, the same rules will apply to sole traders. If you're an affected business owner, more information on coronavirus support can be found at Verksamt.

Swedish vocabulary: support – stöd

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

New scenario: Sweden's coronavirus outbreak may peak in December

Sweden's current coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak in mid-December based on a new scenario presented by the Public Health Agency and government on Thursday. But the actual outcome depends on several factors, including crucially whether people follow current recommendations, such as keeping a distance in public and only having close contact with people you live with (or one or two other people if you live alone).

If that does not happen, the outcome will be worse, Public Health Agency director Johan Carlson said. He explained that because the coronavirus is a new virus it is not possible to compare to how it has developed in previous years, so it relies on a mathematical model based on what we know about the situation now, and is sensitive to several external factors.

Swedish vocabulary: to reach a peak – nå en topp/nå kulmen

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts or questions about life in Sweden, you are always welcome to email our editorial team at [email protected].

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