From Monday, masks will be compulsory in shops in the canton of Basel-City, according to a recent government press release.
The measure, which comes into force on Monday 24 August 2020, is set to last until 31 December 2020.
The canton’s authorities are concerned by the recent rise in cases. Lukas Engelberger, the canton’s health minister, described the rise as “worrying”. “The trend is worrying. That is why a determined fight against the pandemic is necessary to avoid a massive second wave”, he said.
The new regulations apply to publicly accessible retail spaces, shopping centres and restaurants, including bars and clubs. Children under 12 are exempted.
Basel-City is the first German-speaking canton and the fifth Swiss canton to follow the federal government recommendation to make mask wearing compulsory in shops. The cantons of Vaud, Geneva, Jura and Neuchâtel have all made mask wearing in these spaces obligatory. In Neuchâtel similar mask rules come into force today.
Masks compulsory in post-obligatory schools
In addition, from Monday, masks will need to be worn everywhere on the grounds of post-obligatory schools in the canton. Once pupils are in the classroom and at a safe distance (1.5m) masks can be removed. For singing during music lessons the safe distance has been extended to 2.5m. Singing appears to increase the spread of the virus.
By 20 August 2020, there had been 187 new recorded cases the canton of Basel-City since the beginning of June 2020, a total of 9.6 cases per 10,000 people. Switzerland’s worst affected canton is Geneva with an infection rate of 25.85 per 10,000 between the beginning of June 2020 and 19 August 2020.
The challenge with viruses is they spread exponentially and exponential growth is not intuitive. If cases were to double every day, one infection would grow to more than 1 million infections after 20 days. Experts are highly aware of this mathematics.
Government press release (in German)