This content was published in the period between 21 January 2019 and 8 July 2021

COVID-19 Act allows stronger communicable disease control measures

Published

The Government has adopted a Government Bill for a temporary Act to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The legislation is intended to give the Government the authority to adopt more binding communicable disease control measures than was previously possible. The Act entered into force on 10 January 2021 and is in effect until 30 September 2021.

The Government has adopted a Government Bill for a temporary Act to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The legislation is intended to give the Government the authority to adopt more binding communicable disease control measures than was previously possible. The Act entered into force on 10 January 2021 and is in effect until 30 September 2021.

The new Act is intended to allow accurate measures, adapted to the conditions of different activities, and to not unnecessarily hinder activities that can be conducted in an infection-safe manner. If necessary to prevent infection, it will be possible to introduce special limitations regarding the following activities and places:

  • public gatherings and events
  • places for recreational or cultural activities that are open to the general public
  • commercial centres that are open to the general public
  • public transport and domestic flights
  • places for private gatherings.

Certain orders, such as closures and bans on gathering in public places, must be approved by the Riksdag


The Government has instructed the Public Health Agency of Sweden to analyse which communicable disease control measures should be taken in the event of different levels of infection so as to be able to decide on the right measures at the right time.

New regulations for gyms and sports centres, swimming pools, shops and places for private gatherings

Under the new Act, on 8 January the Government issued a new ordinance – the ‘limitations ordinance for COVID-19’ – that entails the introduction of legally binding regulations on gyms and sports centres, swimming pools, shops and malls, and places for private gatherings as of 10 January.

Maximum number of visitors on premises

For shops, indoor gyms and sports centres, and swimming pools, the new regulations mean that it will now be obligatory to calculate the maximum number of simultaneous visitors or customers allowed on the premises. The maximum number must be documented and may not be exceeded. A sign must be posted next to all entrances informing visitors of the maximum number. The calculation will be based on each visitor having 10 square metres at their disposal. It must be possible to either wash your hands or else there must be a hand sanitiser available.

Under the limitations ordinance for COVID-19, the Public Health Agency of Sweden has prepared more detailed orders and will draft instructions on how to avoid congestion. These may include alternative solutions to physical queues or referring visitors to specially designated entrances or exits. Private gatherings such as those at event facilities, club premises and other places that can be rented will now be subject to a maximum of 8 participants.

The Government has initially chosen to regulate activities where the need – based on the disease control situation – is currently deemed greatest. The Government will present other measures that may be implemented pursuant to the new temporary COVID-19 Act at a later date.

The COVID-19 Act

  • The COVID-19 Act is a framework law through which the Riksdag temporarily gives the Government the authority to issue ordinances containing more binding communicable disease control measures than is currently possible.
  • This is primarily a matter of measures that prevent the spread of the disease without setting unnecessary limits on activities that can be conducted in an infection-safe manner. In concrete terms, this may involve limits on the number of visitors, regulating opening hours or other measures necessary to prevent congestion.
  • In very serious situations, it must be possible to close activities and limit gatherings in places to which the general public has access. At the same time, it is important to safeguard the Riksdag’s influence, and that any such decisions are subject to examination by the Riksdag – within a reasonable period of time.
  • It will also be possible for the Government or government agencies to adopt communicable disease control regulations for more locations and facilities that are currently not covered by binding regulations. These include gyms, sports centres, libraries, campsites, museums, zoos, shopping centres, shops and service centres such as hairdressing salons, event facilities and public transport.
  • The Government will also have greater opportunity to limit people’s use of public places and limit the size of groups allowed to gather in public places. The Government – or a municipality, following a Government decision – may introduce a ban on being present at a specified location. This may include bathing sites, city parks or similar locations.
  • The Government will also have the option of introducing limitations regarding premises and spaces rented for private gatherings, such as event facilities rented on a commercial basis, shared premises in rented and tenant-owned housing, club premises and premises that belong to universities, colleges and student unions.
  • Supervisory responsibility rests with the county administrative boards. If the regulations are not followed, the county administrative boards may impose an injunction, such as closing. Fines can be imposed when necessary. The Public Health Agency of Sweden will provide guidance on how to conduct supervision.
  • Matters concerning financial compensation as a result of ordinances issued under the act will be handled in connection with the preparation of such ordinances. The Government will present proposals to the Riksdag at a later date concerning compensation within the framework of the procedures applicable to the budget process.
  • Regarding the ordinances that, under the temporary COVID-19 Act are to be subject to examination by the Riksdag, the Government will provide an assessment of the financial consequences to companies, workers or other actors in the Government Bill on submission.