STOCKHOLM — Sweden took the first of in a five-step plan to reopen the country Tuesday, when restaurants, bars, cinemas and other venues were allowed to extend their hours.
“I love going to the movies, I used to go to the movies two or three times a week, so this year, it’s been very lonely,” retiree Gunilla Boding said as she was about to head inside a downtown Stockholm movie theater.
Sweden stood out among European nations last year for its comparatively hands-off response to the coronavirus. The government never ordered lockdowns or closed businesses, relying instead on citizens’ sense of civic duty to control outbreaks.
The Scandinavian country has reported more than 1 million cases and over 14,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, far more per capita than Sweden’s Nordic neighbors but less than in most European countries that had nationwide lockdowns and curfews.
Along with allowing businesses to stay open longer, the number of people who can legally gather in Sweden will gradually increase in the coming months.