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Coronavirus Total Cases March 25
Coronavirus Total Cases March 25

Infection Count Now 35 as Brännbollsyran is Postponed and Bars Shut Down

• Expert: Västerbotten may actually have 1,400 cases of coronavirus • Brännbollsyran moved to September; tickets still valid • O'Learys closes and Rex lays off entire staff, but Rouge and Taco Bar remain open
  • Expert: Västerbotten may actually have 1,400 cases of coronavirus
  • Bränbollsbyran moved to September; tickets still valid
  • O’Learys closes and Rex lays off entire staff, but Rouge and Taco Bar remain open

ÅLIDHEM – After leveling off over the weekend, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Västerbotten climbed by three today to 35, regional health officials said. The actual number of infected people, however, could be much higher, according to public health experts. Umeå University engineer Henrik Sjödin told Sveriges Radio today that logarithmic analysis suggests that about 1,400 people in Västerbotten may be infected. Most of them have not been tested.

Meanwhile, Brännbollsyran, the Umeå-based music festival combined with the world championships of the sport brännboll, which attract tens of thousands of guests each year and feature internationally-known entertainment acts, was postponed today from May to September 3 to 5. Spokesperson David Arkhult told Umeå Today that festival organizers based their decision on Swedish State Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell’s prediction that Sweden could still be dealing with the worst of the pandemic until June. The postponement until September “gives us a little cushion,” Arkhult said. “The international students will be here then.”

Previous year’s Brännbollsyran, at the university. –Brännbollsyran

Arkhult added that he was glad Brännbollsyran 2020 did not have to be fully cancelled. “World class artists have to move from May to September because of their busy schedule, so it’s a major relief that we got this done,” he said. Tickets for the May event will be valid for September, organizers said.

Umeå Today reached out to Iksu Brännboll head Simon Brändstrom to find out the effect of the postponement on brännboll players. “They are positive about the move,” he wrote.

“We have already talked about moving our tournament called Förcupen, that normally is played in May, to just before Yran in September,” Brändstrom continued, “since it’s supposed to be the warmup for Yran. It will be exciting to see how it will go, having the cup being played in September. “

Held until last year on the grounds of Umeå University, this year’s Brännbollsyran music festival is planned for Hedlunda Grove, a park near the city center. The sport competition will remain at Mariehemsängarna park.

Sweden’s new national regulation forbidding the sales of drinks at bars and counters has led at least two major pubs in Umeå to shut down, at least in part. Västerbottens-Kuriren is reporting that sports bar and restaurant O’Learys, and Rex in the old town hall, are both being battered under economic strain. O’Learys is closing completely, and Rex has laid off all employees. Nonetheless, Rex’s owner, Anders Marklund, was quoted as saying that “as long as possible, we will continue our activities” while following national rules and regulations on drink service.

Ålidhem restaurant Taco Bar and its associated night club Rouge, however, have told Umeå Today that they plan to stay open, despite the regulations. Customers will no longer be served at the bar. Rather, they will have to stand in line and make their orders, and then the drink will be served to their table. The queue is marked in tape on the floor; a single box indicates where the ordering customer must stand.

Taco Bar employee Saba A-gholizadeh demonstrates for Umeå Today how customers will now be required to stand within marked areas when ordering at the bar. –Umeå Today

Västerbottens-Kuriren is also reporting that The Bishop’s Arms pub on Renmarkstorget will continue to stay open, although its manager, Andreas Petersson, is quoted as saying that “we all know how the situation is right now for the restaurant industry: black as night.”

Correction: the original version of this article said that the music festival will be held in the village of Hedlunda, 120 kilometers from Umeå. In fact, the festival is planned for Hedlunda Grove, a park near Umeå’s city center.

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