When does Sweden plan to change its face mask recommendations?

When does Sweden plan to change its face mask recommendations?
Most rush hour travellers wearing face masks in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
At the moment, the situations in which you are recommended to wear a face mask vary depending on where you are in Sweden.

In some regions, face masks are advised during all times on public transport, as well as in indoor environments where you cannot guarantee being able to keep a distance (for example inside shops, pharmacies and at hairdressers) and during any visits to healthcare (for example at the dentist, doctor, or hospital).

But nationwide, the Public Health Agency recommends only that face masks be worn on public transport during rush hour on weekdays (defined as 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm). It only applies specifically to forms of public transport where no assigned seat is given, for example on buses and trams.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

Long-distance buses and trains are subject to limits on how many seats they can sell, and some transport companies have introduced their own rules requiring face masks onboard. Of course, you may still choose to wear a mask in other situations even if your region has no special recommendations.

In the re-opening plan announced by the government on May 27th, there was no mention of any move to tighten the face mask guidelines on a national level.

But in the third step of the five-stage plan, the national recommendation to wear masks during rush hour on public transport is currently expected to be removed. This will depend on the state of the pandemic in Sweden at the time, but is currently expected to happen in mid-July.

Be aware that regional recommendations may still apply after this point.  

The Local has previously asked state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell if the agency had considered if a recommendation applying at all times, or based on crowding rather than time, would be clearer and more effective.

“We have discussed that quite a lot, and seen pros and cons of different approaches. We ended up saying that this is the most efficient approach we can think of, that we actually look at certain hours during the day, where we know from statistics that the risk of crowding is the biggest. We still think that’s the best way of doing it,” Tegnell told us in late January.

The spread of infection and the burden on the healthcare system are still high in Sweden, and restrictions to curb the spread are still in place. These include for example a requirement to limit your social contacts as much as possible and work from home if you can.


Member comments

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.

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