Sweden’s government on Monday presented a temporary pandemic law giving it new powers to curb the spread of COVID-19, which it said it hoped to have in place by January.
The government, which has controversially relied on mostly non-coercive measures during the pandemic, said the new law would enable it to close down businesses, shopping malls or public transport.
It would also be able to impose limits on the number of people allowed in specific public places, rather than general restrictions on public gatherings.
“Those who violate restrictions that limit access to public places can be sentenced to a monetary fine,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a press conference.
The government said it wanted to have the law in place by January 10, but it will first need to be approved by parliament.
Sweden has made headlines around the world for its decision to combat the spread of the virus with mostly non-coercive measures and never imposing the type of lockdown seen elsewhere around Europe.
Health authorities have insisted that battling the pandemic is “a marathon, not a sprint,” and measures have to be sustainable for the long haul.