Today, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced new restrictions for shops, restaurants and ski resorts applicable from 9 December 2020.
New daily cases remain stubbornly high at around 4,000 a day in Switzerland with an overall 14-day case rate of 595 per 100,000. Over summer, Switzerland’s trigger rate for requiring travellers entering Switzerland to quarantine was 60 per 100,000.
The Federal Council would like to see the rate of spread of the virus lowered ahead of the festive season to avoid further deaths and greater strain on an already stretched hospital system.
The new restrictions will come into force from Wednesday 9 December 2020 and remain in force until further notice.
Fewer people allowed in shops
The number of people allowed in a shop will be reduced to a maximum of one person per 10m2. The hope is that people will plan their shopping outings carefully to avoid crunch times.
New rules for restaurants
Contact details for at least one guest per table must be registered, as is already the case in various cantons. On New Year’s Eve, closing time will be extended exceptionally from 11pm to 1am to reduce the risk of spontaneous private gatherings.
Singing, whether indoors or outdoors, is not permitted, apart from in a family setting or at primary and lower secondary schools. This ban covers choirs and congregations at religious services and New Year celebrations involving singing.
Households to stay apart
The Federal Council strongly recommends that people from no more than two households meet when holding private gatherings or visiting a restaurant to keep the number of contacts to a minimum. The 10-person limit still applies.
Work from home where possible
To further reduce the number of contacts and the flow of people, the recommendations on working from home are to be applied more widely. The Federal Council has renewed its appeal to employers to allow staff to work from home where feasible and to make it as easy as possible for them to keep contact with other people to a minimum in the run-up to the festive period.
Ski areas can open if case numbers are falling
From 22 December 2020, ski areas will require a permit from the cantonal authorities in order to operate. These will only be granted if the epidemiological situation allows and hospitals, contact tracing services and testing sites have sufficient capacity. Ski resort operators must also put in place strict precautionary measures. The aim is to prevent the virus from spreading in tourist destinations.
From 9 December 2020 only two thirds of maximum capacity will be permitted in all closed forms of transport, such as trains, gondolas and cablecars. This applies to seating and standing room.
Face coverings must be worn when queuing for and travelling on all forms of transport, including drag lifts and chairlifts. Distance must be maintained when queuing. Guests at restaurants in ski areas will only be allowed inside the premises if there is a table available. The current rules continue to apply to indoor and outdoor areas: customers must be seated with no more than four people per table, with the exception of parents and their children.
The cantons have a duty to monitor compliance. If significant problems arise, ski resort operators will be issued with a warning. If the situation is not rectified, the permit will be withdrawn. The cantons must also provide a report to the federal authorities on the number of checks carried out, the number of warnings issued and permits withdrawn, as well as on hospital capacity.