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Three border crossings between Switzerland and Italy re-open

As of May 4th, three posts between Italy and Ticino that have been shut down since mid-March are operational again.

Three border crossings between Switzerland and Italy re-open
Some borders between Switzerland and Italy have re-opened. Photo by Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

The three crossings will be in use from Monday to Friday only:

Ponte Cremenaga: from 6 am to 10 am, and from 4 pm to 7 pm
Brusino: from 5 am to 9 am, and from 4 pm to 8 pm
Ligornetto: from 6 am to 10 am, and from 4 pm to 7:30 pm

The posts of Dirinella, Brusata di Novazzano, Chiasso Brogeda autostrada, Chiasso strada, Gandria, Madonna di Ponte, Ponte Tresa, and Stabio are also open in Ticino.

These additional crossings are re-opened to facilitate the resumption of border traffic and to prevent traffic jams a week before the new easing will go into force on May 11th. 

They are primarily intended for cross-border workers from Italy who commute to their Swiss jobs daily. More than 67,800 Italians work in Ticino, with about 4,000 of them employed in the canton’s healthcare sector.

Switzerland closed most of its border crossings with Italy — where the majority of early Covid-19 cases originated — between March 11th and 17th.

Then, on March 25th, Swiss authorities extended border restrictions and implemented border checks to all Schengen countries. Only citizens, residents, and those in possession of a cross-border working permit were granted entry. 

At the time, the decision to restrict entry to Switzerland was made to protect the population and maintain the capacities of the Swiss public health system.

But late in April the government began relaxing the restrictions by re-opening some entry points at Switzerland’s border with France.

This was done to prevent bottlenecks for the 85,000 French frontaliers who are employed in Geneva, and to prepare for the increase in numbers of those who will be eligible to enter Switzerland from May 11th, including EU citizens seeking family reunification with Swiss residents. 

READ MORE: Five border crossings between Geneva and France re-open

But border controls will remain in place until further notice, and tourists and cross-border shoppers will still be banned from entering Switzerland

So far, approximately 56,000 people have been turned away from the Swiss borders since their closing, while 150 fines have been issued for breaching restrictions. 

 

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BORDERS

Switzerland’s cross-border couples can now reunite, officials say

After weeks of separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, couples and families living in Switzerland, Austria and Germany can now reunite with their loved ones.

Switzerland's cross-border couples can now reunite, officials say
Border between the Swiss city of Kreuzlingen and the German city of Konstanz is now open for family reunions. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Starting on May 16th, border restrictions between Switzerland, Germany and Austria have been eased, allowing couples, who have been separated on the opposite sides of the border since the state of emergency was declared in mid-March, to meet again.

“Thanks to the positive developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic, reflected in a sharp drop in the number of infections, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have decided to lift the travel restrictions that currently apply to unmarried couples in cross-border relationships”, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) announced on its website. 

Restrictions are also lifted for people visiting relatives or attending weddings or funerals, or who own a property in a neighbouring country, have to carry out agricultural work, or take care of animals.

READ MORE: Will Swiss residents be able to travel freely within Europe when borders reopen? 


People who want to cross the border for those purposes must complete a self-declaration form and present it at the border. The form can be downloaded from the websites of the respective ministries and printed out.

However, those who make false declarations or abuse the rules “may be prosecuted under the law in the country concerned”, the SEM said.

“The public health requirements and recommendations valid in the relevant state will apply to those entering the country”, it added.

These rules are not yet extended to France, due to travel restrictions still in effect in the country, or to Italy, as it was in partial lockdown at the time the agreement was concluded.

The borders will remain closed for tourism until June 15th, when Switzerland will lift travel restrictions with Germany, France and Austria. 

Italy was not included in the arrangement but has announced on Saturday its plan to reopen its borders to tourists from the European Union on June 3rd.

 

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