Governments around the world have used laws, fines and advertising campaigns to encourage social distancing in the age of coronavirus. But the Swedish city of Lund is taking a unique approach to the problem.
Lund Council has ordered workers to dump 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of chicken manure across its main city park to deter crowds from gathering to mark a public holiday on Thursday.
Officials hope the smell of fertilizer will drive people away.
Lund Council shared a video of a worker spreading the fertilizer on its official Facebook page, saying the work would help people “enjoy really green and fine spring and summer days.”
“On a national level Sweden has banned all gatherings of more than 50 people and in the city of Lund we are doing what we can to get more people to follow this ban,” the city’s mayor Philip Sandberg told CNN Thursday.
“We don’t want to become an epicenter for coronavirus so we are doing what we can to fertilize the lawn and keep people safe.”
“It has been proven that parks can carry a severe risk to coronavirus with the amount of people gathering in them, so this is an important measure for us to take.”
“It will stink of chicken manure and won’t be pleasant for people to be around, but the chicken has a lot of phosphorus and nitrogen in so the park will be nice just in time for the summer,” Sandberg said.
He added that public reaction to the unusual measure had been positive.
Sweden celebrates Walpurgis night, also known as Valborg, on April 30. The festival is observed in many parts of Europe and Scandinavia to mark the end of winter.
Sweden usually marks the holiday with songs and bonfires.
The country’s coronavirus strategy has been markedly different to its European neighbors.
It has not imposed a strict lockdown on its citizens. Instead, shops and restaurants have remained open, although people have been advised to work from home where they can.
Sweden has registered 21,092 coronavirus cases and 2,586 deaths among its population of 10.3 million people, according to figures collected by Johns Hopkins University.