The pandemic law gives the government power to introduce extra measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including limiting the opening hours or number of people allowed at gyms, shops and other businesses, and in public spaces like parks and beaches.
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It was first passed in December 2020 (but only actually came into effect from January), after ministers first suggested it should come into force from summer 2021, but it was fast-tracked amid an autumn resurgence of the virus.
It was this law that allowed the government to limit visitors at gyms and shops to a maximum of one per ten square metres, for example, but some of the restrictions made possible by the law were never implemented as they were not judged necessary to curb the spread of infection.
Parliament has now voted to extend the law for four months past its initial expiry date of September 30th, even though at this point there will be no restrictions in place under the law.
Also on Wednesday, parliament voted to extend the law on temporary infection control measures at restaurants, bars and pubs.
The parliament’s Social Affairs Committee also asked the government to submit a report to parliament on how the laws have been used by November 12th at the latest. Based on this, the committee will assess whether there is a reason to keep the laws in place for the full four months, and will propose that parliament repeals them earlier than January if not.
Sweden plans to lift most of its remaining restrictions from September 29th, including the removal of distancing regulations at restaurants for example, and the parliamentary vote does not change this.
However, it means that the government will still have the legal possibility to re-introduce these measures if needed.