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SHOPPING

Your views: ‘No Sunday shopping is one of the best things about Zurich’

A recent article about the possibility of more Sunday shopping in Zurich sparked plenty of debate among readers of The Local. Here’s what you had to say.

Your views: 'No Sunday shopping is one of the best things about Zurich'
Shoppers on Zurich's iconic Bahnhofstrasse. File photo: Depositphotos

Zurich should allow Sunday shopping: That was the argument of the city’s tourism director Martin Sturzenegger in a recent interview with Swiss media.

Stating his case, the tourism boss said Sunday shopping would make the city more appealing to international visitors while also giving Zurich retailers a much-needed shot in the arm.

READ ALSO: Zurich tourism boss calls for shops to be open on Sunday

But Facebook comments made by readers of The Local shows opinion is divided on whether Sunday shopping in Zurich is a good thing.

In fact, many readers came out strongly against the idea – including people who come from places where 24/7 shopping is a reality.

Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse in winter. File photo: AFP

“I think it is great to have less shopping on Sundays. It's nice to have one day a week which is calmer and on which shopping is not a priority,” wrote Tet Speirs.

She noted the lack of commerce gave people the opportunity to do other things and that this tradition “also respects “the time, family time, and leisure time of those who would be staffing the shops on Sundays”.

READ ALSO: Readers' verdict: The best and worst things about life in Zurich

Malou Almirol Castillo was in complete agreement. “Sundays with no shops open is one of the things I love in Europe,” she wrote. “Coming from a mall culture where all shops are open seven days a week and sometimes even 24 hours is just too stressful for me.

“Let us keep it this way! Less commercialism! More quality of life!,” she added.

Meanwhile, Neil Herbert argued that Sunday shopping was really only about the interests of retailers.

“No weekend shopping,” he wrote. “North America pushed this and now companies pay workers less not more. They have larger profits but the workers get less.”

Neil also pointed out that people who really want to shop on Sunday can go online. “There are places open at the airport and main stations that's enough,” he said.

But Daniel Souza was one of the many other readers who called for Zurich to move into the 21st century by introducing Sunday shopping.

“If there is a demand, there is business! Sunday looks dead with businesses closed – it's stupid!” he wrote.

Daniel also stressed what he believed would be one of the key benefits of having stores open on Sunday: Jobs would be created – “something that many job seekers would welcome”.

However, for Zurich-based teacher Sarah Jackson, there is room for a middle ground on the question of Sunday shopping.

Sarah said that after working during the week and then having Saturday as a chores day, she would “really like the idea of having Sunday – at least from time to time – to stroll about and actually look inside some shops”, especially “during Zurich’s many many days of dreary cold weather”.

She stressed she wasn’t in favour of people working seven days a week but noted Sunday opening hours did not mean this would be the case.

“It doesn’t have to mean that every shop is open every Sunday,” Sarah wrote. “Maybe it could just be stores along the [popular downtown areas of] Bahnhofstrasse and around Bellevue?”

In comments to The Local, Sarah also noted that with many restaurants operating, and cinemas open, shops should be allowed to open their doors if they want to.

“Given that earlier this year, Switzerland was named top in Europe for underemployment, and given the influx of new immigrants and their need for jobs, I'm sure that at least some stores would be able to find willing staff to work a Sunday–Thursday week, while others work a Tuesday–Saturday week,” she wrote.

Sarah concluded that Zurich should at least experiment with Sunday shopping, perhaps on a monthly basis.

“[Maybe we should] at least keep discussing it so that it goes to referendum?” she asked.

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SHOPPING

Can you go shopping from Switzerland to neighbouring countries?

Are Swiss residents allowed to go shopping in border regions now, and under what conditions?

A sign on the Swiss border with France.
Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The so-called ‘shopping tourism’ is very popular among Switzerland’s public, as food and many other goods are cheaper in neighbour countries. 

At certain times during the Covid-19 pandemic, crossing the border for non-essential reasons, including shopping, was banned, but far fewer restrictions are in place now.

This is what you should know before you go shopping across the border(s):

Italy

As the Lombardy region of Italy is in the red zone since Monday due to a surge in the number of Covid cases, Ticino officials asked federal authorities to strengthen controls at the border.

They noted that “already a year ago, Ticino suffered the first pandemic wave precisely because of the free movement of people from Lombardy”.

This measure, intended primarily to stop Italians from coming into Switzerland, could also impact Swiss residents returning from a shopping trip.

However, Karin Keller Sutter, the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, said Switzerland is not planning to implement systematic checks at the Italian borders.

So while theoretically a jaunt across the border is possible, a ‘red zone’ classification means that shops, along with restaurants, schools and museums, are closed.

This is also a situation in Piedmont, another region that borders Ticino.

The only people with unrestricted access both ways are Italian cross-border workers who are employed in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: Which of Switzerland’s neighbouring countries can you enter – and what are the rules?

France

Swiss residents are not prohibited from entry into France and do not have to quarantine. But arrivals to France will need to provide a negative test result which is not older than 72 hours. 

However, cross-border commuters and people who reside within 30 kilometres of a border area do not need to provide evidence of a test. The evidence that can prove that your residence is within the authorised distance includes an ‘attestation de domicile’ from your local commune or an official envelope with your address on it.

But some shoppers have said that the 30-km requirement is not systematically checked or enforced, because smaller border crossings are unmanned on the French and Swiss side.

In fact, Swiss residents go to France not just for shopping but also to get Covid tests, as they are cheaper than in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Why are Swiss residents going to France to get tested?

Keep in mind too that France has a 6 pm curfew, so you have to return to Switzerland before that time.

Austria

Current regulations require a 10 to 14-day quarantine for all arrivals, including from Switzerland.

The only exemptions are for urgent family matters or work, including the cross-border employees.

So no shopping in Austria for the time being.

Germany

Travel into Germany from Switzerland is discouraged but not banned. This includes tourist and shopping travel, although tourist accommodation is not allowed to open at present in Germany. 

While you may be allowed to enter, you may also be required to quarantine. 

Whether or not you will have to quarantine depends on which of the 16 German states you are entering. Click here for up to date official information

Both Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, the two states closest to Switzerland, do not consider shopping to be a valid ‘exception’ – meaning that anyone entering to go shopping will be required to quarantine, which is a great way to spoil a shopping trip. 

If the German state requires you to quarantine, it will last for ten days but can be ended early from the fifth day with a negative test result. 

People entering from Switzerland must have a negative test result of less than 48 hours and must register online

Anyone who visits the state of Thüringen/Thuringia will need to quarantine on their return to Switzerland

Note: This page was updated on March 16th to reflect the updated policies of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, both of which consider shopping and tourism not to be valid reasons to avoid coronavirus quarantine. 

Editor’s note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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