On 29 April 2020, Switzerland’s government announced plans to allow schools and other establishments to reopen on Monday 11 May 2020.
From 11 May 2020, shops, restaurants, markets, museums, libraries, primary and lower secondary schools and sports training centres will be allowed to reopen. In addition, public transport will operate according to the standard timetable, announced the government.
The easing is conditional on the businesses and institutions concerned taking suitable precautionary measures, stated a press release. Strict compliance with hygiene and social distancing rules remains essential. Comprehensive contact tracing for all new infections will be required.
In parallel, restrictions on entering Switzerland will be relaxed.
The government has gone further that it originally planned. On 16 April 2020, it did not mention reopening museums, libraries and restaurants.
Rules on hygiene and social distancing still apply. The spread of the virus will largely depend on how well the public continues to comply with the rules on hygiene and social distancing, stated the press release.
Restaurants will only be allowed to open if they follow strict requirements. No more than four people or a group of parents with children will be allowed to sit at each table. All guests must be seated, and groups of guests must sit at least two metres apart or be separated by suitable partitioning.
Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people will remain banned until the end of August 2020. The Federal Council said the risk of transmitting the virus is far higher at large events and tracing all those who may be infected is impossible.
In order to contain the epidemic all cantons will be required to conduct interviews to trace transmission chains across the country. The aim is to identify persons infected at an early stage and ensure that anyone with symptoms can be tested, not simply those who are at high risk or who have already been admitted to hospital, as is currently the case. Persons who test positive will be placed in isolation, while those who have been in contact with them will be notified and placed in quarantine.
Cantons will be required to test people with mild symptoms that are not in any risk category. These tests will be paid for by cantons. Testing of those with severe symptoms or at increased risk of complications will still be covered by mandatory health insurance, but the cost will be reduced to CHF 95.
A voluntary bluetooth-based contact tracing app is currently being developed by the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne. Users are the only ones who can see their own data and no personal data or location details will be used, according to the government.
On 27 May 2020, the Federal Council will decide on a third phase of easing measures from 8 June 2020. Decisions are expected to be taken on lifting the ban on gatherings of more than five people, classroom teaching in post-obligatory schools and higher education institutions, reopening cultural venues, sports facilities and mountain lifts and religious services.
Government press release (in English)