This is the most minimal restriction they could impose, targeting only public gatherings of eight or more. Schools, workplaces, and private gatherings remain legal. But it’s also the first instance I’m aware of in which they’re imposing legal penalties for violating a social-distancing rule. A few weeks ago they issued “recommendations” that were technically mandatory but which carried no punishment. As of today, they’re playing hardball.
It’s a Scandinavian version of the quote from the governor of Wyoming that I posted earlier. He too had been holding off on penalties and mask mandates, believing that citizens could be trusted to take precautions voluntarily to contain the spread. He’s now given up on that belief. “We’ve relied on people to be responsible and they’re being irresponsible,” he said recently. “If I can’t rely on you, we’re going to have to do something else.” Sweden’s now shifting to the “do something else” phase of their pandemic strategy.
Deaths there remain very low, but as we’re being reminded here in the U.S., the more cases there are the more deaths will follow. And cases in Sweden are still climbing, even after the “recommendations”: