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Sweden Puts on Hold Skanson Christmas Revelry

Αssociated Press

Karin Tegmark Wisell, Head of Swedens Public Health Agency, speaks during a news conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic situation, in Stockholm, Sweden Thursday Nov. 19, 2020. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)

STOCKHOLM — Skansen, Stockholm’s popular open-air museum, and its traditional Christmas market with food, yule decorations and people singing and dancing around a Christmas tree, will be closed this year for the first time in its 129-year history because of corona restrictions.

“This is to take responsibility in accordance with the new guidelines where all persons are encouraged to take responsibility and not meet more than eight people,” Skansen head John Brattmyhr said in a statement.

Last week, Sweden set its strictest virus restrictions to date by banning public gatherings of more than eight people to curb a record number of infections in recent weeks that are burdening the healthcare system. The Scandinavian country had opted to keep large sections of society open. Its controversial strategy in fighting COVID-19 has so far relied mainly on recommendations to the population to maintain social distance.

Located on the island of Djurgarden in the Stockholm archipelago, Skansen has a replica of a 19th-century town with craftspeople in traditional dress. It also includes an open-air zoo. It attracts more than 1.3 million visitors each year. No date has been set for its reopening.

Sweden has reported 201,055 cases and 6,340 deaths.