Why restaurants in Switzerland remain unopened despite relaxed coronavirus lockdown

The Local
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Why restaurants in Switzerland remain unopened despite relaxed coronavirus lockdown
A picture taken on May 11, 2020 shows a free table adorned with a painting representing the "Poya", the Swiss traditional transhumance of cows in higher pastures for summer, waiting for customers at t

Despite being allowed to open again on Monday, many restaurants across Switzerland remained closed - while others were almost empty.


On Monday, May 11th, restaurants in Switzerland were again allowed to open for seated guests after two months of forced closure. 

Swiss media reported that in the country's two major cities - Zurich and Geneva - restaurants had failed to spring back to life on Monday. 

Despite this however, many restaurants across the country remained closed on Monday. Of those that opened, many remained at just a fraction of their usual capacity. 

In Geneva for instance, more than half of the canton’s restaurants were closed on Monday.

While trade is expected to pick up as the week goes on, restaurant owners told Swiss media outlet Le Temps that compliance with new social distancing and hygiene requirements was too difficult. 

Several of those interviewed on Monday told the French-language news outlet that unless custom picked up over the coming days, opening was likely to force them further into bankruptcy. 


The story was the same in Zurich, where Watson reported that some restaurants found it impossible to cope with the new requirements - and either remained closed or would service only takeaway means as they had done before the lockdown was partially lifted. 

In a poll conducted over the weekend among readers of The Local Switzerland, around two thirds of respondents said they would not return to restaurants and bars due to concerns about hygiene and safety. 

POLL: 'It's too early': Are people in Switzerland ready to return to bars and restaurants? 

Data, hygiene and social distancing requirements in all bars and restaurants

To open again, bars and restaurants need to comply with a strict set of requirements. 

No more than four people are allowed to sit at one table, while all guests must be seated. Therefore, pubs will be allowed to open provided seating is provided. 

Read: Here's how Switzerland's reopened bars and restaurants will look

Groups of guests must sit more than two metres away from other groups, or be separated by some form of partitioning. 

Parents and their children will be an exception to the four-person limit, with families allowed to sit groups larger than four. 

UPDATE: Swiss restaurant patrons will not have to divulge their personal details 

Initially, the government also required bars and restaurants to keep the full names and phone numbers of everyone who attended, however that requirement was walked back on Friday due to public complaints. 


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