Sweden to go ahead with next stage of Covid-19 re-opening plan

Sweden to go ahead with next stage of Covid-19 re-opening plan
Among the rule changes are a relaxation of the restrictions on restaurants and bars. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
From Thursday July 1st, Sweden will ease some of its Covid-19 restrictions, allowing more guests at events and relaxing the rules in place at restaurants.

Up to 300 people will be allowed at seated indoor events, and up to 3,000 for outdoor events, while for non-seated events the limits will be 50 indoors, 600 outdoors, and 900 at outdoor running events and races. The limits will also be subject to social distancing rules which means they may be lower depending on individual venues.

Restaurants and pubs will be able to extend their opening times beyond 10.30pm, and for outdoor seating areas the limit on the number of guests per table will be removed.

The confirmation of the next stage of Sweden’s re-opening plan was announced on Monday by Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren, Public Health Agency general director Johan Carlson and Culture Minister Amanda Lind.

“From Thursday, life can start to go back to a little bit more like it was before the pandemic,” Hallengren announced.

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The criteria set out by the Public Health Agency for these changes to happen include: fewer than 300 people needing hospital care due to Covid-19, fewer than 70 requiring intensive care for Covid-19; infection rates below 200 new cases per 100,000 residents over the preceding two weeks and steadily declining for at least two weeks; and at least 50 percent of the adult population vaccinated with at least one dose. 

Those criteria have been met, but state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell emphasised last week that the decision would be made on an “overall assessment” in order to reduce the risk of facing setbacks as a result.

The next stage – currently planned for mid-July but dependent on how the pandemic develops – would see limits removed on passengers on long-distance trains and buses, and limits removed on people per square metre in indoor and outdoor areas (for example shops and shopping centres).

“Our ambition is to be able to keep to our plan, with Step 3 on July 15th and Steps 4 and 5 in the autumn,” said Lena Hallengren.


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