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HEALTH

What you are allowed to do in Switzerland again as of June 6th

On June 6th, most of the Swiss government's coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be loosened. Here's what you are allowed to do again from today.

What you are allowed to do in Switzerland again as of June 6th
Nothing says 'the end of lockdown' like a Swiss flag waving in the wind. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

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. 

Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga. Image: AFP

You can go to restaurants and bars in bigger groups

Previously, groups at restaurants in Switzerland could not exceed four, and there was a voluntary requirement that all customers provide their data so that they can be tracked and contacted in the event of an outbreak. 

As of June 6th, 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. 

You (or your kids) can go on summer camp

Summer camps will again be allowed from June 6th, provided they don’t exceed the maximum of 300 children.

Complete lists of those in attendance must be kept.  

READ: How effective have Switzerland's coronavirus lockdown measures been?

Camping at regular camping sites – whether in a tent or in a camper van – is again allowed. 

You (and your kids) can go to school or vocational training again

Middle schools, vocational schools and universities will again be allowed from June 6th. 

You can train and play sports again

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. 

You can hit da club again – but be sure to keep your distance

Party people will be pleased, as they can now visit discos and nightclubs again.

Although the risk of transmitting the coronavirus would appear high in nightclubs, the Swiss government requires 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 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. 

You can go to zoos, campsites, casinos, amusement parks and swimming pools again

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 facilities are also allowed to open from June 6th. 

You can visit brothels again

From June 6th, brothels and sex work is again allowed to take place. 

Brothels have listed sex positions which are approved – and which should be avoided. 

Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes also said that patrons of adult services have been advised that 'face-related services' should be avoided as much as possible. 

READ: Swiss brothels outline list of coronavirus-safe sex positions in a bid to end lockdown

Grandparents can babysit their children again

Seniors have been encouraged to again resume their social life, while grandparents may also babysit their grandchildren once more

You can meet in groups, attend sporting events and demonstrations again (actually you could do this from May 30th)

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. 

You can go to sporting events again (well, from June 8th onwards)

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. 

What else can you do soon? Cross the border from June 15th

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. 

Swiss authorities caught by surprise by the re-opening of Italy's borders 

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

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. 

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HEALTH

Reader question: Are Brits in Switzerland still banned from donating blood?

For many years, people coming from the United Kingdom were banned from donating their blood in Switzerland. This is what the situation is right now.

Reader question: Are Brits in Switzerland still banned from donating blood?

The ‘blood ban’ that extended to British citizens or those of any nationality who had lived in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), was implemented for safety purposes.

The reason was the so-called mad cow disease (BSE), which was particularly rampant in Great Britain in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many people contracted and even died from the cattle-borne condition known scientifically as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

It is believed that one in 2,000 people in the UK is a carrier of the disease. 

While most of them got BSE from eating contaminated beef, “experience tells us that the disease could be transmitted from human to human via blood”, according to a BBC report.

As a result, a number of governments, including the Swiss, prohibited people from the UK to donate blood.

However, this rule is no longer in force in Switzerland.

According to Geneva’s university hospital (HUG), which is a member of the national blood transfusion network Blutspende and follows the same rules, only people who had lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months at a stretch still can’t donate blood.

This is a period when the BSE outbreak was at its worst in the UK.

If you had lived in Great Britain prior to or after that date, you can safely donate your blood.

Have there been any BSE cases in Switzerland?

About 465 cases had been reported in Switzerland between 1990 and 2020, with less than 20 deaths.

There are still isolated cases of BSE throughout Europe, but they are no longer a cause for as much concern as previously.

Can everyone donate blood in Switzerland?

Gay men are still not allowed to do so.

Under Swiss law, any man who has had sex with another man is prevented from donating blood for 12 months — the legislation was introduced during the the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, while the 12-month rule was introduced in 2017.

However, in March 2020, the National Council’s Commission for Social Security and Health said the rule was “no longer appropriate” and filed a motion to rescind it. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to clear way for gay and bisexual men to donate blood

Who else is prevented from donating blood?

According to Blutspende, these medical and other conditions disqualify people from donating blood in Switzerland:

  • Positive test for HIV (AIDS), syphilis, hepatitis C and hepatitis B
  • Prostitution
  • Past or present drug use by injection
  • Blood transfusion after 01.01.1980

These reasons could be a cause for deferral though not an outright ban:

  • Stay during the past six months in a region where malaria is endemic, without any health problem (in case of illness with fever, tell the doctor at the blood donation centre).
  • Suffering from a sexually transmitted disease during the past 12 months
  • Change of sexual partner during the past four months
  • Sexual intercourse with multiple partners during the past 12 months
  • Stay of six months or longer in the past 12 months in countries with a high HIV-prevalence

More information about blood donation in Switzerland can be found here.

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