Sweden announces new Covid-19 guidelines for unvaccinated people

No visits to bars, concerts, or sports events for unvaccinated people when restrictions are lifted, according to Public Health Agency advice. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT
People who have not received a vaccine against Covid-19 should avoid bars, theatres, sports matches, and large events when most of Sweden's restrictions are lifted at the end of the month, the Public Health Agency said on Thursday.

Sweden’s non-binding guidance for individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, including keeping a distance from others in public for example, will be removed from September 29th, the agency’s director Johan Carlson announced at a government press conference. The government has previously confirmed it will remove legal restrictions on bars, restaurants and events from this date.

One piece of guidance which will remain in place for everyone in Sweden regardless of vaccination status is to be attentive to possible Covid-19 symptoms and to stay at home, avoid contact with others and get tested if you suspect you may have the virus. This applies even to fully vaccinated people.

But the recommendations will be replaced with new rules, now specifically targeting adults who have not received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Unvaccinated people should continue to keep distance from people outside their close circle when possible, and in particular avoid close contact with people in Covid-19 risk groups and elderly people. This does not apply to children under 18 or to people who, due to a medical reason, were recommended by their doctor against having the vaccination.

“In practice, this means that unvaccinated people should not go to large events like the theatre, concerts or sports events,” said Carlson. “It is equally unreasonable to go out to bars or go out dancing [if you are unvaccinated].”

This guidance will not be legally enforced and Sweden is not introducing a domestic vaccine pass as many countries have done, requiring guests at events to show proof of either vaccination or a negative test.

“We are assuming that unvaccinated people will take responsibility,” said Carlson.

This is in line with Sweden’s overall coronavirus strategy, which has meant most pandemic restrictions have not been legally enforced.

However, bars, restaurants and large events have been the exception, with the maximum number of people at events restricted by law until September 29th.

Even after the removal of the pandemic laws and recommendations, Carlson noted that Sweden’s Communicable Diseases Act still applies. Under this law, every individual has a legal responsibility to limit their risk of spreading infectious diseases to others.

“You should think through how you can avoid getting infected and how you can avoid infecting others. Vaccination is the best measure, and more people need to get vaccinated in every age group, especially among young and middle-aged adults where the vaccination rate is low,” he said.

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