Sweden has been criticized for not imposing a full forced lockdown of society during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. There are however some mandatory lockdowns, like events for 50 people or more and the closing of high schools (swe gymnasium), and otherwise recommendations for social distancing and no unnecessary traveling. Photos from what Sweden and the capital Stockholm actually looks like during the voluntary lockdown around noon the sixth of May 2020.
|The two meter rule.|
Several empolyers have gone bankrupt, and others have sent their personell home. Quite a few people have lost their jobs, and many office employees are working from home in Sweden during the pandemic.The Internet-infrastructure is able to support this, but naturally not all workplaces can send their employees home. Estimates are that unemployment rate will reach 14% come fall.
Recommendations for social distancing are in place, and mostly people respect this. Swedish society and mentality might differ a bit from most other countries, and responses naturally varies, but in general people try to follow the guidelines and respect the government’s wishes.
Below follows photos from some of Stockholm’s busiest places.
|Rush hour at Skanstull.|
I travelled to Stockholm for the launch of my new and ninth novel Redovisningsavdelning Marviken at Sweden’s largest single publishinghouse Norstedts. No parties, no lectures, no public appearances and not even a public signing. I did however do some signing at the offices, which would be sent a a lucky few readers, and record a few short movies for marketing purposes.
The Nordstedt offices are newly redecorated, but all employees now work from home in order to limit contagion. A handful of employees are in the offices at the same time, and scheduling is used to prevent too many employees actually showing up at the same time. I talked to in total four people during my short visit.
Quite a few office workplaces in Sweden now looks like this. Empty.
|Getingmidjan. Normally one of the busiest roads in central Stockholm.|
|Västerlånggatan in The Old Town (swe Gamla Stan) is perhaps the major tourist street. Now Empty.|
|The road in front of the royal castle in Stockholm.|
|Riksgatan and the Swedish parliament Riksdagen. Empty. The parliament is reduced to around 50 MP:s, the rest working mainly from home.|
|The parliament and the street in front of the Foreign Office and the prime minister’s residence. My publishing house Norstedts’s building in the middle back.|
|Sightseeing booth to the left, the operahouse to the right.|
|The normally busy park of Kungsträdgården.|
|Biblioteksgatan, Stockholm’s answer to London’s New Bond Street, where all the luxury brands are supposed to have their stores.|
|One of the busiest places in Stockholm, the infamous Plattan at Sergels Torg. Also one of the entry points for the major metro station T-Centralen.|
|The two-meter rule at the crossing of the major shopping street Drottninggatan.|
|Drottninggatan, the major shopping street. Also the site of the 2017 terrorist attack. Maybe the busiest spot during my visit.|
|Vasagatan in front of Stockholm Central Station.|
|Stockholm Central Station interior.|
|Klarabergsviadukten next to the Central Station.|
|The central long-range bus terminal.|
And now for the very busiest spot in Stockholm, the entry to the metro, commuting trains and underground tunnel to the Central Station.
|One of the entry points.|
|The major entry point to the metro.|
|This exact spot is normally the very busiest place in Stockholm – the tunnel between the Central Station and the commuting trains and the metro.|
|The other end of the tunnel.|
|The Central Station. A study in social distancing.|
One might criticize Sweden for it’s policies and not by law enforcing a lockdown – which wouldn’t be possible by Swedish laws anyway – but the people of Sweden, workplaces and companies are mostly abiding by the recommendations. In return Sweden’s economy hasn’t shut down as hard as some other countries. Earlier today one of the major banks SEB estimated that around 15% of the Swedish economy had shut down during april, compared to an estimate of 30-35% of France or Italy’s economies.
But make no mistake. Sweden is in lockdown. It’s just voluntary, not mandatory enforced by law. If you trust the Swedish people, the Swedish people will trust your advice.
And Stockholm now feels truly like a small rural town.
/Lars Wilderäng, novelist and blogger. [Insert mandatory excuse for my bad english]
Bonus pictures. The night life at the posh Stureplan, where the nuveau riche and old money party and drink champagne, in a crowd of back-slicks and long blonde hair.
|Sture Hof restaurant.|