Switzerland takes additional strict measures to curb the spread of Covid 19

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Switzerland : At an extraordinary meeting held on 18 October 2020, the Federal Council took several measures across Switzerland to counter the sharp increase in infections with the corona virus. Starting from Monday, October 19, spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited in public spaces. A mask must be worn in public places. A mask requirement also applies in all train stations, airports and at bus and tram stops. 

According to the government release, these measures are taken after it realizes the sharp rise in the number of new cases in recent days. The rise shows up in all age groups and in all cantons. The number of hospitalizations is also increasing. The aim of the new nationwide measures taken by the Confederation and the cantons is to better protect the health of the population and to prevent overloading the health system in the coming weeks and months. The aim is also to curb the increase in the number of cases so much that the cantons can continue to ensure contact tracing consistently and comprehensively. Despite the restrictions, economic and social life should be able to continue.

Uniform mask requirement throughout Switzerland

Anyone who is older than 12 years on public transport has to wear a face mask since July 6, 2020. This obligation will be extended from Monday, October 19 to people who are on platforms or in train stations, airports or other public transport access points. As before, people who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons are exempt from the obligation to wear a mask.

In addition, it is now mandatory to wear a mask in publicly accessible interiors, like shops, shopping centers, banks, post offices, museums, libraries, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, interiors of zoological and botanical gardens and animal parks, restaurants, bars, discos, gaming rooms, hotels (with the exception of guest rooms), entrance and cloakroom rooms of swimming pools, sports facilities and fitness centers, in medical practices, hospitals, churches and religious institutions, advice centers and quarters. It is also mandatory to wear a mask in those parts of the public administration that are accessible to the public.

The obligation to wear a face mask only applies in compulsory schools, schools in upper secondary and tertiary level, in institutions for supplementary childcare and in the training areas of sports and fitness facilities if it is provided for in the relevant protection concept.

Requirements for private events

Many people become infected with the coronavirus at events with family and friends. These events should be avoided if possible. At private events with more than 15 people, consumption will only be allowed while sitting. Anyone who is not in their seat must wear a mask. In addition, the general hygiene rules must be observed and the contact details collected. Private events with over 100 people must have a protection concept analogous to public events, and they may only be carried out in publicly accessible facilities.

No gatherings of more than 15 people in public spaces

Spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited in public spaces, in particular in public places, on walking paths and in parks. In particular, this is to prevent private events from being relocated to public spaces. Organized events in public spaces are still allowed with the appropriate protective measures, such as political and civil society rallies.

Only seated consumption in restaurants

The consumption of food and drinks in restaurants and nightlife venues such as bars or clubs is only allowed while seated, regardless of whether indoors or outdoors.

Home office recommendations

The Federal Council has also supplemented the “Covid 19 Ordinance, special situation” with a paragraph on home office. Employers are obliged to observe the home office recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health. Working at home can avoid large gatherings of people, especially at peak times, and reduce close contacts at work. It also reduces the risk of entire work teams having to be quarantined in the event of a Covid 19 case.

Since June 19, 2020, the cantons have been responsible for dealing with the Covid 19 epidemic in Switzerland. The Confederation expects the cantons to continue to conduct broad-based testing, to ensure seamless contact tracing and to contribute to combating the epidemic with targeted measures.