KEY POINTS: What Covid rules have changed in Sweden?

Sweden lifted almost all Covid-19 restrictions on Wednesday. Which restrictions have ended, and which ones will remain? (updated with new information about travel restrictions)

KEY POINTS: What Covid rules have changed in Sweden?
File photo of a sign reminding shoppers to keep a distance. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Which rules were lifted on February 9th?

The following restrictions are currently in place, but were removed on February 9th:

  • Indoor events of 20-50 people must be seated, with max 8 per group and one metre between groups
  • Vaccination pass needed for indoor events with more than 50 attendees
  • Trade shows and markets indoors must require a vaccine pass if they have more than 50 guests, and number of guests is capped at 500, with 10 square metres per person
  • Restaurants must close at 11pm, with alcohol serving ending at 10.30pm
  • Groups at restaurants may consist of a maximum of eight people, with a minimum of one metre between groups
  • Restaurants with concerts or other entertainment may only have seated guests
  • Maximum of 20 people at private parties in hired venues
  • Shops must have a maximum number of guests permitted, calculated on area with 10 square metres per person – this also applies to gyms, museums, art galleries, theme parks and swimming pools
  • Long-distance public transport: all travellers must have a seat, if possible

The following recommendations were also removed:

  • Public transport should keep up the frequency of departures
  • People should wear a face mask on crowded public transport
  • Everyone who can should work from home
  • Employers should for example ensure that staff can keep a distance and are able to work from home
  • Indoor cups and sports camps should not be held
  • Universitities should carry out part-time remote teaching

Which rules remain after February 9th?

If you have symptoms that may be a sign of Covid-19, you should stay home and avoid close contact with others.

Unvaccinated adults should avoid crowded spaces, and large crowds indoors, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The healthcare and elderly care sectors should have risk-reducing measures in place if needed.

Who should get tested?

The general public will no longer be able to get a PCR test for free, but staff and patients in the healthcare and elderly care sectors should still get tested if they have symptoms.

Who should get vaccinated?

Everyone aged 12 or over should get vaccinated if they can, and everyone over the age of 18 should get their third booster dose too if they haven’t already. The booster can be given three months after the second dose. Sweden does not currently recommend the Covid vaccines to children under the age of 12, unless they are particularly at risk (if you think this applies to your child, it’s best to speak with your doctor).

As of February 4th, 86.5 and 83.7 percent of over-12s in Sweden have received their first and second dose, respectively. More than 50 percent of adults have received their third dose. The Covid vaccine is free for everyone who is eligible for it.

What about the non-EU travel ban?

Sweden removed all Covid-related border restrictions for travel from the rest of the EU/EEA to Sweden on February 9th. This means that from this date, people travelling to Sweden from those countries no longer have to show a Covid certificate.

The non-EU restrictions remain in place for now, and are currently scheduled to expire on March 31st.

When The Local contacted the Health Ministry last week, we received this response from a spokesperson: “The government is continuously reviewing the entry restrictions introduced due to the pandemic. It is important that the restrictions do not go beyond what is justified.

“As a first step, the government intends to remove the entry restrictions which were introduced on December 21st for the Nordic countries. The government will be back as soon as possible with further information on this issue.”

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Easter holidays: What to expect if you’re coming to Sweden in 2022

Tourism to Sweden has been limited for the past two years for obvious reasons, but visitors are starting to return. And those living in countries where Covid-19 is still a thing might be in for a bit of a surprise.

Easter holidays: What to expect if you're coming to Sweden in 2022

Sweden has throughout the pandemic had a relatively light-touch approach to Covid-19 restrictions.

But from the start of this month, the disease is no longer classified as a threat to public health or a critical threat to society, the two temporary laws the government brought in to give it more powers in the pandemic have expired, and the last remaining travel restrictions have been removed. 

Entry restrictions due to Covid-19

Sweden this month did away with its non-EU travel ban, so from April 1st, no traveller needs to show proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or any other Covid-related documentation, no matter what country they live in, are a citizen of, or are travelling from.

There is also no recommendation to get a Covid-19 test on arrival. There are still testing centres in the departure area for travellers flying outside of Sweden, but the testing stations on arrival at Stockholm Arlanda and Gothenburg Landvetter have closed down.

Welcome to Sweden! 

READ ALSO: Who can travel to Sweden now Covid-19 travel rules are lifted? 

Face masks 

From April 1st, it is no longer recommended to wear a face mask when in airports in Sweden, so if you prefer to wear one, you may find yourself almost alone. 

Some airlines, such as British Airways and EasyJet only require passengers to wear masks if the end destination requires them, so you may notice the difference as soon as you get onto your flight. Norwegian lifted its mask requirement for Scandinavia in February. Ryanair, however, is still asking passengers to wear masks on all flights.  

The Public Health Agency lifted its recommendation to wear face masks on public transport when crowded at the start of February, but even when masks were recommended, only about one in ten passengers wore them. 

Again, if you prefer to wear a mask on public transport, you will find yourself alone. 

What restrictions are there in public places? 

None. At the start of February, Sweden removed the recommendation for sports and cultural clubs from arranging big events and competitions indoors, which was the last such recommendation in place.

There are no restrictions whatsoever for festivals, concerts, nightclubs, theatre performances, and all other indoor and outdoor events with a large number of participants. 

Those who are unvaccinated, whether by choice or for medical reasons are advised to avoid crowded places and large indoor events. 

What if I get Covid-19 while in Sweden? 

Even if you do get Covid-19 symptoms when travelling in Sweden, you are no longer expected to go and take a test. The only people recommended to get tested are those that work in or are being treated by the health system, and those who care for the elderly, or live in a care home.

If you get Covid-19 symptoms while travelling within Sweden, by all means take an antigen test or quick test. The Public Health Agency recommends that you should avoid contact with others even if the rapid test is negative. 

This might be a problem when you have to get a flight back home, particularly if you live in a country which required a negative test before boarding your flight.