Coronavirus: Which Swiss cantons are fining people who don’t respect lockdown rules?

Coronavirus: Which Swiss cantons are fining people who don't respect lockdown rules?
Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP
More than 2,000 fines have been given out across Switzerland for breaching coronavirus restrictions. Here’s where the authorities have been particularly trigger happy.

Switzerland has introduced a relatively modest fine of CHF100 for anyone caught breaking coronavirus restrictions. With only around 2,000 fines handed out it's certainly a far cry from France, where over half a million members of the public have been hit with fines that now begin at €135.

However, like everything in Switzerland, the likelihood of getting fined appears to differ dramatically from canton to canton. 

What we know about the victims of the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

Everyone in Switzerland is required to keep social distance from others while in public, to stay home other than for certain activities and to not meet in groups of more than five people when heading outside. 

Since the weekend of April 4th and 5th however, police have been “on the offensive” as reported in Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes – with a view towards discouraging people from going outside and breaching the regulations in the Easter weather. 

Vaud handing out the most penalties 

The western Swiss canton of Vaud, which has seen the greatest number of coronavirus infections and the second-highest number of deaths, has so far handed out by far the most fines of anywhere in Switzerland. 

Police in the canton told 20 Minutes that they had already issued more than 1,300 fines, either for people gathering in groups of more than five or for people not respecting the two-metre social distance requirement. 

The canton has also had almost 200 reports from members of the public who have observed someone breaking the rules. 

German-speaking Switzerland

Although German-speaking Switzerland has been less hard hit than French or Italian-speaking Switzerland, the police have been active. 

Police in Lucerne have issued more than 500 fines in total, while police in Basel City have handed out more than 400. 

St Gallen has issued more than 200 fines. 

Police in Basel Country and Aargau have not released figures but have indicated they are currently ramping up efforts to ensure the fines are adhered to. 

Zurich and Bern do not provide figures indicating how many fines have been handed out. 

Ticino

Ticino – the canton where the most people have died in Switzerland – may have put in place heavy restrictions in order to halt the impact of the coronavirus early, but police action in the southern canton is comparatively rare. 

Only 150 fines have been issued in Ticino.

The first person to die in Switzerland was a man in Ticino on March 5th. The canton as at April 9th has 219 deaths – just under a quarter of the total in Switzerland despite having only four percent of the population. 


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