Amidst the spread of coronavirus, the shutting of bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres and sporting events in Australia - one country has taken a completely different approach to fighting COVID-19.
While the global spread of coronavirus has closed pubs right across Europe, Sweden has hung back, with authorities on Tuesday saying bars and restaurants could stay open - but only if customers are seated and served at a table.
Martin Hession, who owns Wirstroms, in Stockholm, said it’s leaving customers a tad perplexed.
"This is completely new for both us and our customers... We have 26 taps of beer, which often change, so it's a little bit confusing when people can't approach the bar," Mr Hession told Reuters.
Mr Hession said that despite remaining open his sales are down 75 per cent compared with March last year, forcing him to sack most of his staff.
"I'd prefer to be closed... I can't understand why the government wants us to stay open while pubs and restaurants are going bankrupt," he said.
Swedes are being asked to follow social distancing measures. So far the country has 4947 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 239 deaths.
Anyone who feels sick is being asked to stay home. On Wednesday, the government said it would be introducing more tests for the virus.It’s also looking at banning visits to aged care facilities.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist and architect of the policy, told The Australian, the plan is to let the virus grow as slowly as possible while shielding the vulnerable, such as the elderly, from it.
However, Joacim Rocklöv, a professor of epidemiology at Umeå University, told the paper it’s a “a big and risky experiment” which could have a “catastrophic outcome”.
“It is risky to leave it to people to decide what to do without any restrictions,” he said.
“As can be seen from other countries this is a serious disease, and Sweden is no different than other countries.”
It is hoped Sweden’s population will either become immune or a vaccine is made available.
However, some people, like Mattias Ehringe who frequents Viking Bar, said he wants the government to take more action.
"I would prefer the government ordered us to stay home, as that's harder to do when you have the choice to go out,” he said.
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