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

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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Coronavirus: What are the rules in Switzerland for spending time outdoors?
Jogging alone is safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP

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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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?