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Everything that changes in Switzerland in March 2020

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Everything that changes in Switzerland in March 2020
SWISS airline is restricting flights to and from Italy in March. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

Coronavirus dominates the news and the changes scheduled in Switzerland in March. But there is some good news on the horizon as well.

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Better internal rail travels and improved connections between Switzerland and Italy

On the night of March 1st, the seven-month test phase started on The Ceneri base tunnel in Ticino. If successful, a new train service linking Zurich with Milan will begin in December.

READ: How the new Léman Express train link will ease Geneva's traffic woes 

New parliamentary session

The parliament is starting its spring session on March 2nd, with 246 deputies convening in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly. But spectators and lobbyists will not be allowed to participate in the discussions to respect the government guidelines limiting public gatherings to less than 1,000 people. 

Depending on the coronavirus situation in the country, Swiss government will decide on March 15th whether to lift, modify, or extend the restrictions on large public events.

READ MORE: LATEST: More cases of coronavirus confirmed in Switzerland

Coronavirus impacts air traffic

SWISS is reducing the frequencies of its services to and from Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice. It is also restricting flights to Milan, Bologna, Turin, Verona, Venice, Trieste and Genoa. These changes will be in place until the end of March.

The taxman cometh!

Tax declarations are due on March 15th at the latest for Swiss residents. For cross-border workers, the rules may vary, depending on their country of residence.

READ: Everything that changes in Switzerland in February 2020 

Good news for Swiss tenants

Starting this week, the benchmark interest rate applicable to lease contracts has been lowered by 0.25 percentage points to 1.25 percent, the Federal Housing Office announced.

Under certain conditions, tenants will be able to claim a reduction in rent of almost 3 percent

READ MORE: This is how much it costs you to change apartments in Switzerland’s cities

An estimated 2.2 million households in Switzerland are able to apply for a rent reduction - although only a fraction of those eligible are expected to apply for it. The Swiss Tenants Association (MV) has prepared a sample form which can be filled out to lodge a request. 

New parking tickets in Zurich

As of March 1st, parking police in Zurich will no longer issue paper tickets. Instead, they will leave a slip with a QR code on it. 

When the QR code is scanned on a smart phone or other device, the amount can be paid. 

While this may make things more convenient, observers have warned that the QR codes are easier to forge. Police have warned motorists to check that the slip looks official - i.e. with a hologram and colouring/design - and to pay their fines only at official sites. 

Traveling to France with kids will get cheaper

From March 23rd to May 17th, children up to age 15 will be able travel on Swiss Federal Railways from Switzerland to France for a promotional price of 29 francs.

Bye bye winter!

Daylight saving time will begin at 02:00 AM on Sunday March 29th. Swiss clocks will go forward an hour as summer time begins



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