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Sweden brings back pandemic relief for companies as infections rise – Metro US

Sweden brings back pandemic relief for companies as infections rise

FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg
FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg speaks during a news conference in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden will reintroduce some economic support measures for companies to help them get through a renewed onset of the pandemic that has led to rising infections and the re-imposition of some restrictions this month.

The measures agreed between the Social Democrat minority government and the opposition include support for lost income for very small firms and subsidies for workers on shorter hours.

Sweden has seen infections surge, if from levels below most European countries. Authorities have imposed vaccine passes for many indoor events and renewed social distancing recommendations, while warning further steps will be need if cases keep rising.

“We know that the measures we have taken in many cases have led to changes in behavior which have a negative impact on some businesses,” Finance Minister Mikael Damberg told a news conference.

“Not least, it’s about restaurants who are losing revenues when Christmas lunches are canceled at short notice.”

With the economy recovering strongly this year, the government has gradually phased out many of the measures introduced during 2020 to keep businesses running and prevent large numbers of workers being let go.

Damberg said the cost of the renewed relief measures was difficult to assess, but would be in excess of 1 billion Swedish crowns ($111 million). The government stood ready to do more if needed, he added.

($1 = 9.0444 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; writing by Niklas Pollard; editing by Helena Soderpalm)

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