The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 17 December 2020

Recommendations for upcoming weekends and holidays

From 14 December, more stringent national regulations and general guidelines will apply regarding everybody's responsibility in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Everyone in society, individuals as well as employers, has a duty to take measures to prevent the spread of infection. This also applies during the celebration of holidays.

Socialise only with a small circle

The risk of contracting COVID-19, and spreading the infection further, increases the more people you mix with. It is therefore important to limit the number of encounters even during the holidays and to take appropriate measures, for example, in order to keep a safe distance. It is important to be aware of disease symptoms and to be prepared to cancel arrangements with other people to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Preferably, interact with each other in smaller circles, so you limit the number of people you are in close contact with as much as possible. The fewer people who come together, the better it is. You should also avoid taking part in several different groups.

If you meet people outside your immediate circle, you should take precautions that reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Get together outdoors if possible and keep as much distance as possible and  avoid being close to each other, especially in smaller spaces for a long time.

Meet people in at-risk groups in a safe manner

Older people and people belonging to an at-risk group have a much greater risk of becoming seriously ill. It is therefore important that people in an at-risk group as well as people around them ensure that they meet in a safe manner. Here, too, it is important to limit the number of interactions, keep a safe distance, follow the hygiene guidelines and ensure that those with even slight symptoms refrain from meeting others. Visits to care homes for older people are allowed as long as no ban has been imposed. The visits should be done in a safe manner and in accordance with the housing's visitor procedures. Check with the operator or your municipality regarding applicable guidelines.

If you have had COVID-19 in the spring, you may no longer have a reduced risk of becoming re-infected and you might infect others. However, if you had COVID-19 this autumn, the risks are likely lower. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Sweden to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Traditions in a safe manner to avoid infection

Try to adapt your traditions to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

If you are celebrating Christmas and want a Santa Claus, the person who is Santa should come from the immediate circle that you socialise with. If you celebrate several feasts, you should hold the celebrations within the same small group each time. Preferably abstain from Christmas dinners with people you do not normally socialise with, and hold glögg evenings and Lucia celebrations online or in the small circle that you plan to celebrate the holidays with. Children in primary or preschool may celebrate in school or preschool but without the parents being present.

Christmas concerts and religious practices such as worship services are covered by the Public Order Act and there are special regulations in place here.

Travel safely

Try to limit your use of public transportation as much as possible. Transport does not in itself contribute to the spread of the virus, but there is a risk through encounters during the journey and at the destination. For the coming holidays and during Christmas, it is important to consider whether taking planned trips is really that necessary. The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends that consideration be given to whether a trip to, for example, the big cities, mountain resorts or a resort where many people gather in the same place is necessary.

Any travel should be made in a safe manner, from an infection control perspective:

  • Stay home if you experience any symptoms.
  • Plan your trip so you can choose and reserve your seat.
  • Use an alternative mode of transportation than public transport if you cannot book a ticket with seat reservation.
  • Avoid departures with crowding.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at your destination, isolate yourself or make your way home in a safe manner to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

If you are celebrating Christmas or another holiday with friends or relatives away from home, it should be in a small circle. You should not meet with people outside your circle during the holidays, regardless of whether you are at home or away visiting.

Avoid crowds when doing your Christmas or “Boxing Week” shopping

In connection with the Christmas and After-Christmas trade, extra care may be required to avoid crowds. Both individuals and businesses have a responsibility to counteract the spread of COVID-19. Preferably limit the number of stores you shop in. Shop on your own, avoid shopping at times when a lot of people go shopping and do not prolong your stay at the premises of shops and shopping centres beyond necessity. Make sure to follow guidelines and instructions of shops and delivery points.

Loneliness

At the moment, it is essential to avoid meeting many different people and to avoid social settings where many people are gathering at the same time. This can make you feel more lonely than usual. At the same time, close relationships and encounters in everyday life are important to feel good.

We are all different. Some people appreciate being for themselves. Others may feel lonely, regardless of whether they live alone or are surrounded by friends and family. This in turn can create feelings of both stress and anxiety.

Try to find solutions that suit you. If you meet people other than those in your immediate circle, you should avoid being close to each other and primarily socialise outdoors. Make sure you follow the recommendations of the authorities to reduce the risk of disease and spread of the virus. You can take advantage of digital alternatives or the telephone to keep in touch. If you know someone you think might feel lonely, a call, a letter or a message can go a long way towards making a big difference.

If you feel lonely or want to assist someone else, there are tips and support available through helplines, hotlines (1177) and web pages such as You are not alone in feeling lonely (Mind). (In Swedish)

Children and young people

Children in preschool, preschool class, primary school and corresponding schooling

It is the responsibility of adults to guide children in how they can follow the guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in everyday life.

Festivities, other gatherings with many people, or meeting up in new groups are inappropriate. However, playing in smaller groups even outside the school or preschool is allowed, provided that everyone is healthy.

It is important that children can continue with their sports and leisure activities as much as possible. Sports clubs as well as other associations may still organise activities and individual competitions or matches. However, they should refrain from organising cups, camp activities or the like.

Young people of secondary school age

Young people of secondary school age (born 2004 and earlier) are expected to follow the general guidelines just like adults. This means limiting new close contacts, socialising within a small circle, staying at home in case of symptoms of COVID-19 as well as keeping distance from others and avoiding environments with crowds. They should also wash hands frequently and thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser, as well as travel in a way that minimises the risk of infection. Young people often have a great need to meet friends. It is therefore important that adults provide guidance on how young people can socialise as safely as possible.

It is beneficial if young people of secondary school age continue with sports and leisure activities, but participation in such activities should be with focus on minimising the risk of infection. Be outdoors as much as possible, keep a safe distance, do not share sports equipment, avoid common changing rooms, travel to and from activities individually, and minimise the number of people who get together.

What is considered a small circle?

A small circle consists of a few people, but it is not possible to say an exact figure of how many. Who and how many are included in the circle may vary depending on the life situation of the individual. For someone it could mean a few close friends, for someone else the closest family.