Swedish News:

No easing of corona restrictions in Sweden / Still tough for many / Increased confidence in the authorities / The Arts Council distributes crisis billions / GDP rises again next year  

  • Prime Minister Stefan Löfven recently announced the government's decision not to ease the restrictions and recommendations on public meetings. Löfven on Swedish TV already on March 22: “There are few moments in life when you have to make sacrifices, not just for your own sake, but for your surroundings, your fellow human beings and for our country. That moment is now. That day is here. "
  • No easing of corona restrictions
    The Swedish government has decided not to ease the restrictions and recommendations on public meetings, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced at a press conference at the end of September. The reason is the signs of increased spread of infection. “The message to the Swedish people is that we must persevere. The crisis is not over,“ he says. According to the prime minister, more and more people have become less and less careful about keeping their distance. "It is worrying and it requires that we sharpen our behavior," says Löfven, who also points out that new restrictions can be introduced if the spread of infection continues to increase.

  • Still tough for many
    Cinemas and other cultural activities will have to continue with an audience limit of 50 people. The hard-pressed cultural sector is still having a tough time—and the government is waiting to ease restrictions. Relief of audience restrictions has been highly anticipated in an industry where revenues have been very limited since the start of the pandemic. The message from the government that it is not ready to ease the restrictions means the 50 limit will remain.

  • Increased confidence in the authorities
    When the pandemic intensified in the spring, Swedes' confidence in the authorities increased sharply. Trust in others also increased, shows a study from the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg. "The fact that the effect exists in Sweden, which chose its own path through the pandemic, shows that it was possible to unite a nation without taking draconian shutdowns," write four of the researchers behind the study in the Op-Ed section of Dagens Nyheter. For more info, see www.gu.se/som-institutet

  • The Arts Council distributes crisis billions
    SEK 1 billion of the already known crisis support of SEK 1.5 billion is set aside for special stimulus support for the adjustment and restart of cultural life. The money will be distributed via the Swedish Arts Council as stated in the government's budget proposal of Sept. 21. Regional culture will receive SEK 300 million in the 2021 budget. The following year, the contribution will be halved to SEK 150 million annually. The state subsidy to municipalities with cultural schools will be increased by SEK 100 million in 2021-2023. Support for independent cultural actors will be increased by SEK 16 million and SEK 10 million per year from 2021 will go to reading projects.

  • GDP rises again next year
    Gross domestic product, GDP, is expected to fall 4.6% this year but rise 4.1% next year, according to the government's assessment. The government has marginally written down the deficit in central government finances for this year. On the other hand, the deficit is slightly larger next year than previously estimated, minus 5.5% and minus 3.5% of GDP in 2020 and 2021. Thus, the central government debt is also adjusted from 35.2% last year to 42.6 this year. Unemployment is expected to rise to 9.5% next year, from an average of 9 this year.

  • Government hopes for 75,000 jobs
    The Swedish government wants to invest SEK 11 billion in the unemployment insurance fund, more educational and training places and job placement. "These measures will provide 75,000 new jobs in 2021," says Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson about the autumn budget. The government's budget bill for 2021, which was presented on September 21, contains new investments of SEK 105 billion.

  • Corona effect on bicycle sales
    Sales of bicycles have increased nearly 30 percent in Sweden during this bicycle year 2019/2020 (September 1-August 31) compared with the previous year, according to new industry statistics. The increase has taken place all over the country. “I have never seen such a large increase in the number of bicycles in one year," says Klas Elm at Svensk Cykling in a press release. The increased sales are linked to the corona pandemic, but also to the cycling trend that has been going on for a few years. www.svenskcykling.se

  • Family quarantine may be introduced
    Those who live in the same household as a person who is infected may have to isolate themselves in the home, says Björn Eriksson, director of health and medical care in the Stockholm Region. Eriksson stated on Swedish TV that the region is in discussions with the Swedish Public Health Agency about what kind of restrictions may be introduced depending on the spread of the virus.