Sweden has become the latest country in the EU to remove almost all of its Covid-19 related restrictions, including the use of a vaccine passports and the mandatory mask requirement. The move follows a trend of countries in Europe slowly beginning to peel back their restrictions – a move that is bound to prove popular with tourists and local citizens alike – after the EU changed their entry requirements advice at the start of the month.
In making the decision to cut restrictions, the Northern European nation shifted its policies to closely resemble those of its fellow Scandinavian neighbors Denmark and Norway, with the two countries also cutting their Covid-related restrictions during the week and pivoting towards a living with the virus approach. Here’s a closer look at which restrictions are set to be scrapped in Denmark, plus a recap of the similar changes by their neighbours.
Sweden Scraps Local Restrictions – Information for Travelers
Travelers heading to Sweden next week are bound to experience a semblance of what travel was like pre-pandemic, after it was revealed that the country would be scrapping almost all of its local Covid-19 restrictions. The move was announced on Thursday, with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson – who herself tested positive for the virus in January – explaining the change in direction during a press conference.
“The pandemic is not over, but we are headed into a new phase,” the Prime Minister explained during her press conference. That new phase will see everyday life return to normality in Sweden, with the requirements for citizens to present vaccine certificates to take part in several activities removed, along with the requirements to wear face masks on public transport. Capacity limits in restaurants are also set to be removed, with opening hours also free to be set by businesses. The changes are set to come into effect on February 9th.
It should however be noted that these restrictions are still subject to change, depending on how the Covid-19 situation in the country goes from here. Sweden is still reporting high case numbers, but they are not burdening hospitals, which has led to the easing of restrictions. However, Sweden’s Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren also explained in the same pandemic that they would “continue to be vigilant about how the pandemic will develop”.
Some of the country’s restrictions are set to remain in place. Unvaccinated Swedes are still advised to avoid crowded places, whilst those with Covid-19 symptoms are still told to stay at home. Sweden’s current border restrictions for most travelers are expected to remain as they are for now, though they are set to loosen entry requirements for visitors arriving from other Nordic countries.
Setting the restriction-easing trend was neighboring Denmark, who made similar sweeping moves last week. As well as removing all internal Covid-19 restrictions, Denmark took it a step further by announcing that all post-arrival testing would be scrapped. Norway too revealed that they would be removing their Covid-19 restrictions, making Scandinavia a destination that’s bound to be popular amongst restriction-weary travelers.
In order to be able to visit Sweden at present, travelers from the US must be fully-vaccinated with a vaccine that is approved by the EMA or WHO. Travelers must also provide a negative Covid-19 test result taken within the past 72 hours. The country is currently reporting a daily average of just below 35,000 cases, and currently has a Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory from the US State Department.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com