The Swiss government was surprised in mid-May when Italy decided unilaterally to open its borders on June 3rd, without consulting its northern neighbour.
In a statement on Tuesday, June 2nd, the Federal Council said it would not be swayed by Italy’s decision and the border will remain closed to arrivals from Italy until further notice.
The impact of the decision will mean that although people from the Swiss side of the border will be able to travel into Italy, those hoping to cross the border from the Italian side into Switzerland will be turned away.
On May 29th, Swiss authorities warned residents against ‘premature travel to Italy’.
Francesco Quattrini, the foreign affairs delegate from the southern canton of Ticino, said on Tuesday that residents should avoid travelling to Italy.
The only Italian citizens who are authorised to enter the country at the moment are the 70,000 cross-border G-permit holders who commute to their jobs in Switzerland, or anyone holding Swiss citizenship or residency.
Switzerland hopes for ‘uniform border reopening’
Currently, Switzerland is planning on reopening its borders with neighbours Germany, France and Austria on June 15th.
While no agreement has been set in place for when the Swiss border will be opened to arrivals from Italy, the Federal Council has indicated it hopes to also open the border with Italy on the 15th and thereby secure a uniform border relaxation with all of its neighbours.
In mid-May, Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said the main reason for the delay in coming to an agreement with Italy was the serious situation in that country, particularly in the north.
Italy has been one of the countries heaviest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with the second-most deaths and the third most cases in Europe.