Coronavirus: Switzerland weakens ‘unconstitutional’ shopping ban for over 65s

Coronavirus: Switzerland weakens ‘unconstitutional’ shopping ban for over 65s
(Illustration) Elderly people in Ticino rely on food delivery services as they are not allowed to shop themselves. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP
The southern Swiss canton of Ticino has said it will amend its ban on shopping for seniors, amid criticism it breaches the country's constitution.

Ticino has some of the most restrictive lockdown rules relating to the coronavirus of anywhere in Europe. 

Seniors in the Italian-speaking canton will now be allowed to shop before 10am in the morning. 

Although other shoppers cannot be banned from visiting shops during this time, the Ticino government has called upon the rest of the population to stay home during this time. 

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Previously, anyone over the age of 65 was not allowed to shop due to the coronavirus lockdown, with anyone caught doing so punishable with a CHF100 fine. 

Besides leading to calls that the ban was discriminatory, there were reports of seniors travelling north to the canton of Uri in order to go shopping, leading to concerns that the virus could be spread more easily across the country.

Unconstitutional? 

As reported in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a group of Swiss constitutional lawyers have said that not only would the fines be unlikely to be upheld in court, but that the ban itself breached the Swiss Constitution. 

The Swiss Constitution bans age-based discrimination. 

The Federal Office of Justice told the NZZ that coronavirus lockdown restrictions are likely to be unconstitutional when they apply to one specific group, i.e. persons over a particular age. 

“Additional regulations of the cantons, such as a general or specific ban on going out or a ban on shopping for people over 65, are therefore not permitted.”

Ticino heavily affected by corona

As at Tuesday, April 14th, Switzerland has recorded more than 1,140 deaths from the virus and has a total infected count of 25,719 people. 

Ticino has been heavily impacted by the outbreak, counting more than 2,900 cases. 

The number of deaths in the canton crossed 200 on Wednesday, with the tally now at 258.  

This means that Ticino has just under one quarter of the country's total death toll, despite having just four percent of the population. 

 

 


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