Valborg 2020 – “Be responsible”
On the last of April every year, Uppsala turns into the epicenter of the Valborg celebrations. The day marks the arrival of Spring and is the Uppsala students’ most beloved tradition. Normally, the day is filled with activities, parties and celebrations outdoors, most notably in the park behind the Ekonomikum Campus.
Due to the corona outbreak, however, this year will be different. Or at least that’s what the authorities of Uppsala are hoping.
Today, representatives of some of the local authorities, the Police and the Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University among others, held a press conference, urging people not to celebrate Valborg the traditional Uppsala way.
– The party is cancelled in Uppsala on the last of April. There will be no raft race, there will be no champagne galop, we will not gather outside Carolina Rediviva and I will not stand on the library’s balcony to put on my student hat, as has been a yearly tradition since 1955. Instead, we are going to collectively, but on our own, bid the Spring welcome in a responsible fashion, said Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson.
Normally, around 150 000 people gather in Uppsala to celebrate Valborg, many of whom travel here from other cities. But this year the authorities have put together a campaign stating that “The party is cancelled!” – a message they hope to convey to both the people of Uppsala and those considering visiting the city to avoid a worsened situation for the region’s health care workers.
Around 830 people have been diagnosed with covid-19 in Uppsala and 83 have died. Right now 20 people are in intensive care and a total of 100 are currently being treated for the virus.
Though all official activities have been cancelled, there is still a fear that people will gather in large groups for spontaneous festivities. The regional Chief of Police, Carin Götblad, said that the Police will not hesitate to interfere should people gather in groups larger than 50 people, in accordance with the Government regulations.
– The less we follow the recommendations on social distancing, the more people will get sick. The more people who get sick, the more people will die, Carin Götblad said.