Five border crossings between Geneva and France re-open
After shutting down many border points with France, Swiss authorities have re-opened some of them to avoid bottlenecks.
As part of sweeping measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Council closed most of its borders with France, Germany, Austria, and Italy on March 16th and decided to restore border controls with these countries.
The decision to restrict entry to Switzerland was made to protect the population and maintain the capacities of the Swiss public health system.
But starting on Monday April 20th, the authorities are re-opening the border crossing points between Geneva and France. They are Mategnin, Soral II, Monniaz and Veigy (coloured red below).
However, the openings of these cross points will be limited to weekdays from 6 am to 9 am when entering Switzerland, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. when leaving the Swiss territory.
The border crossing at Landecy will also be open at the same times although only the green lane.
The new re-openings are an addition to the already existing customs that are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day: Ferney-Voltaire, Meyrin, Perly, Bardonnex, Moillesulaz, Thônex-Vallard, and Anières (coloured green).
Seven crossings have also been open on part-time basis, from 6 am to 8 pm every day: Chancy 1, Soral 1, Croix-de-Rozon, Veyrier, Fossard, Mon-Idée, and Monniaz.
Despite the increased number of border crossings between France and Geneva, however, entry is only still allowed for Swiss citizens, people with a residence permit, and people who have to travel to Switzerland for professional reasons, including those commuting to their jobs in Geneva on daily basis.
An estimated 85,000 French frontaliers are employed in Geneva. At the cantonal university hospital (HUG), for instance, 60 percent of personnel comes from France.
More than 67,800 Italians also work in Ticino, with about 4,000 employed in the canton’s healthcare sector. However, there are no new re-openings on that border at this point.
In all, 130 border crossing points had been closed across Switzerland due to the pandemic. At those that remain open, checks are carried out to ensure that only eligible people enter Switzerland.
While the Federal Council announced the progressive lifting of current restrictions, it did not say when all Switzerland's external borders, including entry from non-EU and Schengen area countries will fully re-open.
Health Minister Alain Berset noted that the decision “is not only up to us”, implying that the final say belongs to the European Union.
While Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it belongs to the Schengen area — a bloc of 25 European countries, which abolished their internal borders for the free and unrestricted movement of people.
So far, the EU has not released the timeline for re-opening borders to non-essential travel from outside EU, calling for the current closures to stay in force until at least May 15th.
We invite EU countries to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May.— European Commission ?? (@EU_Commission) April 8, 2020
While we can see encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the spread of #coronavirus. More → https://t.co/3YTxZlc2Un pic.twitter.com/mhXWPnvyYi