On 26 May 2021, Switzerland’s government announced a further round of lifting of Covid-19 related restrictions that will take effect on Monday 31 May 2021.
The Federal Council said it is going further than proposed in the consultation, particularly with regard to events, private gatherings and restaurants. Better than expected epidemiological data have made greater easing of restrictions possible, said the government.
The number of new cases reported today dipped below 1,000 (996) for the first time since October 2020. Over the last 24 hours, 2 Covid-19 deaths were reported. Around a third of the population in Switzerland, including most high risk people, have now had at least one shot of vaccine.
The Federal Council said that case numbers are continuing to fall and most cantons will have completed vaccinating people at especially high risk by the end of the month. This means that the protection phase, the first phase of the Federal Council’s exit strategy, has been completed and the second phase, the stabilisation phase, can begin.
In the second phase, the entire adult population will have access to the vaccine. The government continues to advise the public to be cautious to not jeopardise the ongoing vaccination campaign.
The new rules, which apply from Monday 31 May 2021, include larger numbers at indoor and outdoor gatherings, indoor restaurant dining, more face-to-face teaching, no requirement to work from home for businesses that conduct regular tests, and no quarantine for those already vaccinated or recovered.
Larger numbers allowed at gatherings
For events with spectators or audiences, there will be a limit of 100 instead of 50 people indoors, and 300 instead of 100 people outdoors. Half of the capacity of venues may now be used instead of only a third as before. The same applies to religious events. In contrast to the proposal in the consultation, seats at public events do not have to be allocated; the wearing of masks and social distancing are sufficient.
From next Monday, up to 100 people indoors and 300 people outdoors will be allowed at public events and up to 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors will be allowed at private events.
Indoor restaurant dining allowed
From Monday, restaurants will once again be able to serve guests indoors. Distancing or screens between tables will be requited, no more than four people will be allowed per table, all must be seated and contact details of all guests must be recorded. In addition, tables of six will be allowed in outdoor seating areas. Masks will not have to be worn while sitting at a table, but will need to be when moving around the premises indoors and out. And staff will be required to wear masks.
No quarantine for vaccinated and recovered
Those who have been vaccinated with an approved vaccine or who have recovered from a Covid infection within the last six months, will no longer be required to be tested and quarantine on arrival in Switzerland unless they come from somewhere with virus variants of significant concern. Nations currently on this list include: Brazil, Canada, India, Nepal and South Africa.
People under the age of 16 are also exempt from travel quarantine and the requirement to be tested on arrival in Switzerland unless they.
Further round of reopening expected before the summer break
The government said it is aiming for only one further round of reopening, which it hopes to announce before the summer break. The Federal Council said that it expects to send out the next package of easing steps for consultation on 11 June 2021 and take a final decision on 23 or 30 June 2021. This package will apply from 1 July 2021.