On Wednesday, May 27th, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset announced which of the current coronavirus lockdown measures would be relaxed and when they would be relaxed.
Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga told the media “Switzerland is reborn”, saying “we now know it is possible to control the virus”.
“The number of new cases of infection has remained stable at a low level for a number of weeks now, as has the number of hospital admissions and deaths,” she said.
Berset also announced that the state of emergency, first declared on March 16th, will officially end on June 19th.
— André Simonazzi (@BR_Sprecher) May 27, 2020
While not an official rule, the government has recommended that working from home be encouraged by businesses wherever possible.
In addition, commuters are encouraged to avoid peak times.
There will however be no compulsory mask requirement in Switzerland, with Sommaruga saying “We rely on the personal responsibility of the population.”
Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga. Image: AFP
Groups, sporting events and demonstrations
Groups of up to 30 people will again be allowed to meet in public places from May 30th, increasing from the current limit of five.
The maximum number will be higher for events. From June 6th, groups of up to 300 people to be allowed for protests, trade fairs, private events and ceremonies, theatre performances and film screenings.
People at these events will however be required to keep a distance of two metres at all times.
Demonstrators will need to apply for a permit and will need to explain how they plan to minimise the spread of the virus.
Spectators at sporting events
Switzerland’s top-flight football competition – the Swiss Super League – will be allowed to resume from June 8th.
Groups of up to 1,000 people will be allowed at sporting events from July, however venues will need to provide indications as to how they will ensure that social distancing requirements are met.
Restaurants: Data required but maximum groups scrapped
Pursuant to the current regulations, groups at restaurants in Switzerland cannot exceed four, and there is a voluntary requirement that all customers provide their data so that they can be tracked and contacted in the event of an outbreak.
According to the report, the maximum of guests per table will be scrapped – but larger groups will be required to register, with the information of each attendee to be kept.
A distance of two metres between groups remains mandatory.
Summer camps will again be allowed, provided they don’t exceed the maximum of 300 children. This will again be allowed from June 6th.
Complete lists of those in attendance must be kept.
Schools and vocational training
Middle schools, vocational schools and universities will again be allowed from June 6th.
Sports and training
Training for all sports will again be allowed from June 6th, regardless of group size.
All sports – except those with a high level of contact – will be allowed to train again.
The one requirement is that a list of those in attendance must be kept.
Berset announced that the next round of lockdown relaxations will include discos and nightclubs.
Although the risk of transmitting the coronavirus would appear high in nightclubs, the Swiss government is expected to require establishments to adhere to a range of distancing and hygiene rules.
This is set to include a maximum of 300 people at each establishment, while the NZZ reports that patrons will also be expected to keep two metres apart at all times.
Nightclubs – along with all bars and pubs – will also have to close at midnight.
However, as reported by Swiss media outlet Watson, clubs will again be allowed to open at 6am – enabling after hours parties.
Complete freedom of movement will be restored in and out of Switzerland by July 6th at the latest.
Some border controls will be relaxed earlier however, with border controls to Germany, Austria and France lifted by June 15th.
From June 8th, applications from EU/EFTA workers will again be processed. Swiss companies will also be allowed to hire workers from non-EU/EFTA countries provided they are in a highly-skilled category, and this is either in the public interest or there is an urgent need.
One further issue to be discussed is the fate of Switzerland’s southern border.
Italy unilaterally announced on May 17th that it would be opening its borders on the June 3rd – much to the surprise of Swiss authorities.
Switzerland said today that the border with Italy will not be opened on June 3rd.
Karin Keller-Sutter said during the press conference that she respected Italy's decision – but the border opening would not be reciprocated.
“Of course we are also in contact with Italy. It had announced that it would reopen its borders to tourists on June 3. We respect this sovereign decision.”
However, Switzerland and other neighbouring countries in Italy want the reopening to take place in a coordinated manner. We will not open our borders with Italy on June 3rd.”
Therefore, if Italy does open the border earlier, it would be possible for Swiss residents and citizens to cross into and back out of Italy from June 3rd. Italian residents would however not be able to cross into Switzerland.
What will happen at Switzerland's southern border? Image: AFP
Zoos, campsites, casinos, amusement parks and swimming pools
Campsites, swimming pools and leisure facilities such as rope and climbing parks can reopen on June 6th.
Amusement parks, casinos, zoos, botanical gardens and wellness facilties are also allowed to open from June 6th.
From June 6th, brothels and sex work is again allowed to take place.
Grandparents as babysitters
Seniors have been encouraged to again resume their social life, while grandparents may also babysit their grandchildren once more.
When will the next round of lockdown relaxations be made?
On June 24th, the Federal Council will announce further relaxations – including whether larger events are to be allowed. Currently, events with more than 1,000 people are banned until August 31, 2020.