- Is Sweden really equipped for a third wave?
Guest post written by Fredrik Goldhahn, Restaurangbransch.se
In mid-December, we carried out a campaign within the Facebook group Restaurangbransch.se where we called on as many people as possible to write Open Letters to the Government, Party Leaders, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the various Ministries and their representatives. The purpose was to tell with his own personal story how the restrictions and urgings that came from the Government affected their activities, their employees or their own situation in Coronan’s second wave.
Many testify to extremely high losses in sales and bookings, slow processing where the support should have come too long ago, complicated rules for applications especially for small businesses which in several cases have resulted in refusals where you become liable for repayment with devastating consequences. Common are anxiety, despair and of course anger.
From the Government, the answer to our campaign was silence. Why is the Government silent?
Where I come from, they respond to appeals. That is a good tone. I myself am completely politically uninterested and start from the common sense I was brought up with. Since I run the website Restaurangbransch.se, there was an opportunity for me to make my Open Letter to the Government official , and it has been read by 4321 people at the time of writing. That is why Restaurangbransch.se offers restaurateurs and entrepreneurs to publish their own Open Letter to the Government online .
For me, it has still gone well. After I became unemployed in mid-November, I have entered a skills-enhancing education of 1.5 years with a chance to take a step forward – upwards in my career. The opportunity to study in Sweden is fantastic. I’m lucky.
When I wrote my open letter on December 13, I knew that a friend and former colleague had to put his dream into bankruptcy earlier this year. The day after I published the open letter, a former boss calls and says that he filed for bankruptcy the same day. At the same time, he says that another friend and former colleague has already gone bankrupt. Three talented industry people. Only in my circle of acquaintances.
Right now I hear the words ”bankruptcy” and ”unemployed” far too often to believe that support packages are the only solution, but the support packages that already exist must be paid out now. Or preferably yesterday.
There are many talented representatives of the industries and their employees who are working hard now to come up with proposals for different models of support, solutions on how we should try to save the business community, secure jobs, ward off people’s mental and physical ill health that has already begun to grow and at the same time maintain a strong economy after the Pandemic. There are many such people in the group on Facebook as well who refuse to stop fighting against Corona and for the Restaurant industry.
Personally; no matter how I twist and turn the situation, it always ends up in the hands of our Government. And in a single requirement.
I demand; as a Swedish citizen, that the Government takes responsibility for its own actions and has a plan for the consequences of their restrictions and calls. The restaurant industry and the hospitality industry collaborate with a large number of other industries. If you pull off the carpet for any of these industries, it affects everyone. We have the right to know how the Government came to its decisions that lower an entire industry and on what grounds of facts. We have the right to demand that they take responsibility for the consequences and with support that really makes a difference, help the business community get back on its feet. A chain reaction has already started with bankruptcies, unemployment and a threat to public health, not to mention the consequences it could have on a future strong and functioning economy. When will the Government wake up and realize this simple, true, reality? When the ”barns” echo empty? The Government must stop hiding behind empty statements such as ”we follow the Swedish Public Health Agency’s recommendations”, because we see and hear what the Government is doing. All power comes from the people, but it is the Government that governs the Kingdom and has the ultimate responsibility. It is even stated in the Swedish Constitution.