In 2020, the coronavirus spread with devastating consequences for both individual people and social life. Public authorities around the world introduced comprehensive restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading, to protect human life and to safeguard the capacity of their medical care systems. Sweden prohibited public gatherings and events with over 50 participants, as well as visits to care homes for the elderly. People in Sweden were urged to restrict travel, to work from home as often as possible and to maintain social distancing. Other countries introduced more far-reaching measures. Overall, this has had substantial negative economic consequences and has led to a global economic crisis.
Like other central banks around the world, the Riksbank has therefore deployed a series of measures to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on the economy and reduce unrest on the financial markets. The Riksbank deems that payments in Sweden have functioned well during the pandemic. Over the year, the Riksbank has summoned representatives of banks, clearing organisations, cash depot companies, cash-in-transit companies, the retail trade and relevant public authorities to regular meetings. These meetings have noted that payments, the system that makes them possible and the distribution of cash in society have worked without disruption.