When will Sweden introduce vaccine passes in restaurants?

When will Sweden introduce vaccine passes in restaurants?
Vaccine passes are already required at public events that don't already have other infection control measures in place. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
Sweden has again stepped up its Covid-19 guidelines to curb a rise in infections. But when could vaccine passes be rolled out to restaurants? Here’s what we know so far.

Sweden reintroduced some of its Covid-19 recommendations on December 8th, including urging employers to enable to staff to work from home if possible, and advising adults to avoid crowded spaces and wear face masks on public transport.

Since the beginning of December, indoor public events with more than 100 attendees have also had to either make vaccine passes mandatory for admission, or have other social distancing measures in place.

In practice, that means that most large public events – such as sports competitions and cinemas – now require attendees to present a valid Covid-19 vaccine pass on entry. It is not possible to instead show a negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery as a substitute.

The government is also preparing to possibly extend the vaccine pass scheme to other venues, and put forward a proposal for this on December 9th. This will need to go through Sweden’s legislative process, which means that it will first be sent out for consultation (during which organisations and the public will have a chance to comment) before it can come into force. The deadline for this is December 20th, so it will not come into force before that date.

It is also important to note that even if the proposal is passed, it will only be activated if Swedish health authorities believe that the spread of infection and burden on healthcare is so significant that it is necessary. Despite a rise in infections, Sweden is not yet at that stage.

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The government’s December 9th proposal suggests extending the Covid vaccine pass scheme to restaurants, leisure and culture centres, shopping malls, venues for private events (i.e. private events held in rented premises, not gatherings in private homes) as well as long-distance public transport. Vaccine passes are currently only used at public gatherings and events with more than 100 attendees.

The proposed rules don’t automatically mandate vaccine passes – instead it will be up to individual venues or companies to decide whether to use them, either on their own or in combination with other infectious disease control measures.

If venues choose to use vaccine passes they will be exempt from other far-reaching restrictions such as limits on the number of visitors. They will also be able to refuse entry to people who are unable to show a valid pass. Proof of a negative test or recovery is not enough.

People who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 for medical reasons will be exempt from the rules (but they will have to show a doctor’s note), as will people under the age of 18. However, the proposal suggests that the age limit could potentially be lowered to 16.


Vaccine passes are used to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but a side effect of Sweden’s requirements is that they reduce access for those foreigners who are fully vaccinated but cannot yet get a vaccine pass – and these groups are not exempt from the requirements. Sweden’s vaccine pass system still excludes people who do not have a personal identity number or a temporary coordination number.

It also affects many people who got vaccinated abroad. EU-issued Covid vaccine passes and some non-EU passes are valid in Sweden, but most non-EU passes are not, including the US and India. Nor is it currently possible for residents who got vaccinated in a non-EU country to convert their foreign vaccine pass to a Swedish pass, unless they travel to another EU country where it’s possible to convert it an EU pass.

Sweden expects to have a solution in place for these groups by January 1st 2022.

The government has said it is also working on making it possible for fully vaccinated non-EU tourists to use their vaccine passes in Sweden, but a Health Ministry spokesperson told The Local last month that it is still reviewing the “legal and technical possibilities for this”.

Member comments

  1. If the whole thing would be about health, the only valid measure also for vaccinated people is to present a negative test. Because all over europe figures show that vaccinated people are spreading the “virius” quite dramatically.

  2. It’s pretty obvious now that this is not about health – vaccinated people can also get Covid, go to hospital and die.
    If it would be about health a negative test would be sufficient, independent of the vaccination status.

  3. Although I agree with your comment on headless acting if governments all over the EU, sweden is nowhere near to forcing things onto you. There is nothing you can not do, where is the problem?This is called a liberal society with responsibility of each person for the ither members and themselves. Be glad to be living in Sweden and CHILL, another work that starts with C.

  4. CRAZY! I see that even Sweden, in spite of having been almost immune to the general folly for almost two years, is now falling pray to the same insane obsession of other European and Western countries. This is even more absurd, given that most of the population has already been vaccinated, and were mislead into thinking that by doing so we would have gone back to normal life. This is not so, instead once more new restrictions are being forced upon us all, without any real need, given that new infections and hospital admissions are nowhere near as high as one year ago! And discrimination based on the blind acceptance of a medical treatment that does not actually prevent contagion nor even death from Covid is going to be introduced even in Sweden! CRAZY!

    1. Totally agree. We have lost all common sense. Like, we’ve all been walking around as usual (more or less) for two years, and NOW that the majority is vaccinated, we are fearful of the unvaccinated? It literally makes no sense.

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