Covid-19: Sweden clamps down on overcrowded bars and restaurants

Sweden is clamping down on bars and restaurants which fail to respect social distancing rules as the Covid-19 death toll exceeds 2,000.

THE authorities have ordered the closure of several bars in Stockholm with immediate effect, and warned of a crackdown.

The Scandinavian country has come under fire for its ‘relaxed’ approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

But packed venues over the weekend has prompted authorities to take action and order the closure of five Stockholm bars and restaurants.

Four of these are located in the trendy Sodermalm neighbourhood, popular with young partygoers.

And authorities warn inspections will be intensified to ensure other bars and restaurants are adhering to social distancing rules.

Referring to the closures, Stockholm health official Per Follin told news agency TT that the main problem was “overcrowding, both inside the premises and outdoors.”

He said their closure was immediate and until further notice.

Rather than shutting cafes, restaurants, bars and schools for under-16’s, the government has instead “urged” firms and the public to be responsible, a move which has been met with criticism internationally.

Social venues can only provide table service, with a distance of one to two metres between each table to avoid overcrowding.

Studies suggest most of the country is “acting responsibly” and practising social distancing, but pictures of large gatherings, packed bars and queues of revellers continue to make headlines.

Other restrictions Sweden has imposed are bans on visits to retirement homes and on gatherings of more than 50 people.

People over the age of 70 and in risk groups are being urged to limit contacts with others, and anyone who can work from home is being asked to do so.

As of yesterday, the Scandanavian country of 10.3 million, registered 2,194 Covid-19 deaths.

Its neighbouring countries of Denmark and Norway have recorded 422 and 193 respectively, though they have 50 per cent less inhabitants.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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