Up until now, Sweden has resisted a large-scale national lockdown, and is largely leaving social distancing up to the common sense of its citizens. But as the country is getting ready to celebrate Walpurgis Night (a traditional holiday celebrated in northern Europe) tonight, officials are concerned about the potential consequences of the festivities on the community’s health.
Fearful that residents will try congregating for traditional holiday celebrations, the university town of Lund is taking extreme measures. It’s planning to dump over 2,000 lbs of chicken manure in the town’s central park.
Gustav Lundblad, chairman of the local council’s environment committee, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper, “We get the opportunity to fertilize the lawns, and at the same time it will stink and so it may not be so nice to sit and drink beer in the park. I am not a fertilizer expert, but as I understand it, it is clear that it might smell a bit outside the park as well.”
He continued, “These are chicken droppings, after all. I cannot guarantee that the rest of the city will be odorless. But the point is to keep people out of the city park.”
The holiday is generally celebrated with parties and bonfires. Although Sweden has banned planned gatherings exceeding 50 people, because the Walpurgis Night festivities are classified as “spontaneous,” they can’t be outright banned by authorities.
“Given that we have a situation where Lund could very well become some kind of epicenter for the spread of infection during on the last night of April, I think as chairman of the Environment Committee that it was a good initiative,” said Lundblad.