The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 24 July 2020

Checklist for event organisers

The checklist below is primarily aimed at those managing an activity or business or who are planning an event in summer 2020. It is designed as an aid to understanding what is covered by the Swedish Public Order Act, the Communicable Diseases Act, the Act on temporary communicable disease control measures at venues serving food and drink and the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s general guidelines and regulations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note: This checklist deals only with the legislation relating to communicable disease control in Sweden. Depending on the event or activity, there may be other legislation that the person or body responsible must take inte consideration.

Do the Public Order Act and the restriction on gatherings to a maximum of 50 people apply? Yes/No

If the event is covered by the Public Order Act, the person or body responsible must have a permit. Permits are available on application from the police. The Swedish Police website gives more information about the types of events and activity that the Public Order Act applies to. You can also apply for a permit on the site.

The extent to which an event is covered by the Act depends on where the event is being held and if it is aimed at the general public. Events that are covered include political demonstrations and festivals. The police will be able to give more detailed information about what events and activity are covered:

Information from Swedish Police on limitations applying to public gatherings and events

Start by finding out whether your event or activity needs a permit under the Public Order Act. Remember to do this well in advance.

1) If the answer is ‘Yes’:

Under the terms of Ordinance 2020:114 an event covered by the Public Order Act can have a maximum of 50 participants. A County Administrative Board can determine whether a lower maximum number applies within its county. Advice on how to calculate the number of participants can be obtained from the police.

If you do not have a permit, the police can cancel or break up your event, and you may also be penalised.

NB. In this context, the Swedish Public Health Agency’s regulations and general advice on everyone’s responsibility to prevent COVID-19 etc. (HSLF-FS 2020:12) also apply.  There is also a consolidated version of the regulation, which includes the initial regulation and amendments.

The aim of these provisions is to reduce the spread of infection. They are based on the ‘duty to protect’ in the Communicable Diseases Act which applies at all times, whether or not a person is ill with COVID-19.

This means that the Public Order Act and the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s regulations and general guidelines both apply at the same time.

2) If the answer is ‘No’:

If an event is not covered by the Public Order Act, there is no statutory limit of 50 participants. No Public Order Act permit is required and the police cannot intervene on the basis that there are too many participants.

Activity or businesses that are not covered by the Public Order Act include campsites, visitor moorings and bathing areas. The police will be able to tell you whether your event or activity is covered or not.

However,the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s regulations and general guidelines (HSLF-FS 2020:12)still apply to these events or activities. If the regulations and guidelines are followed, it may in practice be difficult to accommodate the number of participants that would be normally be expected.

There are some differences between the guidelines that apply to the person or body responsible for an event or activity under HSLF-FS 2020:12 and those that apply to participants.

a) The following applies to the person or body responsible: A poster with advice aimed at businesses and organisations can be put on display.

See the guidelines that apply here: 

b) The following applies to participants:

See the guidelines that apply here: 

If the event or activity is not covered by the Public Order Act, neither the Public Health Agency of Sweden nor the medical officer for communicable diseases can approve or disallow a specific event or activity from the point of view of communicable disease control. Where that is the case, responsibility for minimising the spread of infection lies solely with the business/organisation or the event organiser.

Venues serving food and drink

Restaurants, bars, cafés etc must comply with special legislation from 1 July 2020, the Act on temporary communicable disease control measures at venues serving food and drink.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has produced regulations in connection with this.

In summary, the rules mean that venues serving food and drink must avoid crowding and take various measures to minimise the risk of the infection being spread. If the rules are not complied with, municipalities may issue an order (e.g. requiring the business or person responsible to address crowding on the premises) or decide to close the venue.

The rules apply to venues serving food and drink to members of the public where the food and drink can be consumed on the premises. Venues that do not have a licence to serve alcohol are also covered by the rules.

Venues covered by the rules on venues serving food and drink include:

  • restaurants
  • bars
  • pubs
  • discotheques
  • cafés
  • patisseries/coffee shops
  • canteens

Venues not covered by the rules on venues serving food and drink include:

  • voluntary organisations, e.g. those serving free food and drink to homeless people
  • venues without tables and seating, e.g. some ice-cream stalls and food trucks
  • staff restaurants
  • school dining rooms

Note that this new legislation may apply at the same time as an event also needs to comply with the Public Order Act, e.g. where a dance event requiring a licence is held within a restaurant.