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.
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.
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.
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.