While certain medical, health, wellness, and beauty services, along with garden centres, flower shops and hardware stores, have already re-opened in Switzerland, many other businesses will resume only on May 11th and June 8th.
“The gradual and controlled opening of the economy must be accelerated,” said Heinz Karrer, president of economiesuisse, the umbrella organisation of the Swiss economy.
For instance, although the Federal Council is working to re-open other sectors crucial to the Swiss economy, including tourism and gastronomy, “it was imperative to reopen the entire retail business” at one time, on April 27th.
“The companies are ready. They know how to comply with protective measures”, he added.
Karrer said the concerns of the Federal Council regarding a second wave of Covid-19 infections are “understandable”.
“We don't want that either. But to prevent it, we must constantly respect protective measures and not freeze the activities of a large part of the economy any longer ”, he noted.
He pointed out that faster re-opening of the economy is needed because Switzerland is heading “into the worst recession in 90 years. There will be a wave of bankruptcies, unemployment will quickly increase to 4 or 5 percent and job security will fall”.
Others too are critical of the three-phased approach that the government has taken to end the lockdown and revive the economy.
“Instead of strengthening the testing system, getting enough protective masks and continuing traceability of infections through applications, which would allow people in Switzerland to return to work as quickly as possible, the government increases the damage to the economy “, the Swiss People’s Party said.
However, in order to avoid further damage to the economy, the Federal Council will decide in the coming days on how restaurants and tourist facilities can gradually re-open before the summer holidays.