Tuesday. 26.09.2023

Sweden said restaurants and cafes were as of March 1 to close at 8:30 pm, regardless if they sell alcohol or not, as part of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

"The situation is serious," Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Wednesday, citing a high rate of spread of infection.

"There is a great risk for a third wave [of infections]," he said.

The Public Health Agency was commissioned to present a further limit on the maximum number of people in shops, shopping centres and at gyms.

"We must avoid congestion," Lofven added.

Johan Carlson, head of the Public Health Agency, said the agency did not want to restrict take-away meal options but could further cap the number of seated guests at restaurants.

Carlson said the Public Health Agency was in talks with retail organizations on new limits on shoppers.

Only one member of a household was recommended to shop at the same time, Carlson said. 

Covid-19 variants

Both the prime minister and Carlson cited concerns linked to variants of the coronavirus that are significantly more transmissible.

Carlson said that although vaccinations were ongoing and there was a drop in mortality among older people, it was still necessary to adhere to recommendations and rules on social distancing.

The government's powers to tackle the pandemic were recently enhanced.

It gives the government the right to order the closure of shopping malls, public transport, gyms, and cultural venues.

Sweden, a country of 10.3 million, has recorded over 647,000 cases and 12,793 corona-related deaths since the pandemic began.

Sweden to limit opening hours for cafes, restaurants to tackle virus