At its meeting on 11 December, the Federal Council tightened its measures to counter the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The aim is to reduce the level of contact between people and to prevent people from gathering together and spreading the virus.
The level of infection has remained stubbornly high over the last two weeks, although the situation has improved in French-speaking Switzerland and worsened in the Italian- and German-speaking regions.
Restaurants, bars, shops, markets, museums, libraries, and sports and leisure facilities will be required to close at 7pm from tomorrow, Saturday, 12 December 2020 in most cantons. In French-speaking Switzerland they will be allowed to stay open until 11pm for the time being. Falling rates of infection are the reason behind this variation. With the exception of restaurants and bars all of these places must close on Sundays and public holidays.
The cantons with a more favourable epidemiological situation will be allowed to extend the closing time up to 11pm. However, this will be dependent on the R-number remaining less than 1.0 for at least seven days and the weekly incidence remaining below the Swiss average for at least seven days. In addition, sufficient contact-tracing and healthcare capacities must be available in the canton concerned. And cantons that wish to extend opening hours must agree the move with neighbouring cantons.
On 24 December and New Year’s Eve, the closing time will be extended exceptionally to 1am. Takeaways and delivery services can remain open until 11pm.
Events are banned, with certain exceptions, while sports and cultural activities are still permitted in groups of up to five people. Exceptions are made for religious services (for up to 50 people), funerals attended by family and close friends, parliamentary assemblies and political demonstrations.
The Federal Council has decided against further restrictions on private gatherings. The current rule of no more than 10 persons will continue to apply. Children do not count towards this number. In addition, the Federal Council strongly recommends that private gatherings be limited to two households. This rule is clear and means that small-scale Christmas celebrations are possible.
Sport and culture: groups of up to five permitted. Amateur sports activities are only allowed in groups of up to five persons. Contact sports remain banned. Amateur cultural activities are also restricted to groups of up to five persons. Sports and cultural activities (with the exception of competitions) involving children up to the age of 16 are still permitted.
The number of cases of infection with coronavirus remains very high and in many cantons it is starting to rise again. Hospitals are nearly full and medical staff are under enormous pressure, said the government. The situation is of the utmost concern because people are spending more time indoors due to the cold weather and contacts among family and friends are set to increase over the festive season.
The measures take effect from tomorrow, Saturday 12 December 2020, and will remain in place until 22 January 2021.
The Federal Council will discuss whether to proceed with even further-reaching restrictions at its meeting on 18 December.