Restrictions easing in Switzerland

Switzerland has a three-stage easing of restrictions imposed to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic, with some stores and services allowed to reopen from April 27. Restrictions on hospitals and medical centres performing non-essential procedures will also be lifted.

In light of epidemiological developments and the recommendations of scientists, the Federal Council has decided to relax measures to protect the population against the new coronavirus from April 27th. While some businesses will be allowed to open, others will be required or recommended to have staff wear masks.

Hospitals and clinics, medical practices and dental practices have been prohibited from carrying out non-urgent medical examinations, treatment, and therapies. The cantons may legally require private hospitals and clinics to make their bed capacity available for the admission of patients.

On March 25th, Switzerland closed its borders to everyone except citizens, residents, and cross-border workers.

This didn’t stop people who live in neighbouring countries from crossing into Switzerland to go shopping. The Federal Council has since now banned this cross-border activity.

The plan to re-open is subject to a final decision on April 29th, but it will happen unless the rate of new infections increases unexpectedly. In order to monitor this, a contract-tracing app will be rolled out across the country.

On April 27th, retail and cosmetic shops will be allowed to open again. This includes hairdressers, tattoo parlours, massage salons, cosmetic and makeup salons, hardware stores, garden centres and flower shops.

Restrictions on hospitals and medical centres performing non-essential procedures will also be lifted, with doctors, dentists and physiotherapists again allowed to carry out general work which had been restricted by the coronavirus.

From May 11 primary schools and all remaining shops and markets will be permitted to open.

From June 8th, secondary schools, universities, and vocational schools will be allowed to open. Libraries, museums, botanical gardens, and zoos will be reopened at this time.

Other restrictions will be relaxed, for example the ban on meeting in groups larger than five outside the house, although this will only happen under certain conditions. As for major gatherings like concerts, the government has not yet set any date.