Coronavirus: What are the rules in Switzerland for spending time outdoors?

Coronavirus: What are the rules in Switzerland for spending time outdoors?
Jogging alone is safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP
With new measures implemented by the Federal Council in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, many people are confused about what they are and aren’t allowed to do in public. We answer your questions.
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In declaring a state of emergency, the Federal Council imposed widespread restrictions on daily life in Switzerland. 

“All public and private events are prohibited.

“All shops, markets, restaurants, bars and entertainment and leisure facilities, such as museums, libraries, cinemas, concert halls and theatres, sports centres, swimming pools and ski areas are to close.

“Also affected are businesses at which the recommended distance cannot be maintained, such as hairdressers and cosmetics studios”, the government said.

All schools are closed until at least April 4th.

Q: Do these restrictions mean that everyone in Switzerland must stay indoors at all times?

Unlike Italy, France or Spain the Swiss government has not imposed a general curfew.

This means that if you want to enjoy the nice weather and go for a walk or a jog, you can. But “please do it alone or at least with the person you already live with. Jogging or walking in a group should be avoided”, Daniel Koch, the head of the communicable diseases department at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) told SRF television.

On the other hand, avoid get-togethers with friends and family members in private homes or gardens.

“We should not currently promote contacts between families and generations”, Koch pointed out.

If you do venture outside, keep in mind that you are responsible not only for your own health, but also have a “responsibility towards society as a whole”, FOPH said.

Q: Which offices and services will remain open?

Aside from grocery stores and pharmacies, doctor’s offices, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists are among the health personnel allowed to interact with the public, though they must adopt safe hygiene and distancing practices

At Swiss supermarkets announcements are made every 10 minutes or so, urging the customers to keep their distance from each other and not crowd the aisles or the area around cash registers.

Q: What about children playing together?

Authorities recommend groups of no more than five children. Attention must also be paid to the distance and hygiene rules. Kids should also avoid physical contact with one another.

The problem, Koch said, lies with teenagers, “who are very mobile, have a lot of contact with each other, and are therefore most likely to infect other people”.

For that reason, adolescents should refrain from going out with friends “and play on their PC at home”, Koch said.

Whether in or out of the house, everyone should follow one rule of thumb, Koch urged: “Keep your distance, keep your distance, keep your distance”.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Preventive measures should show their effects within 10 days 

 


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