Swiss authorities issue rules on staying safe in large crowds

As gatherings of up to 300 people in Switzerland have been authorised since June 6th, health authorities have released a set of regulations to keep the transmission of virus in large groups to a minimum.

Swiss authorities issue rules on staying safe in large crowds
Two-metre distance must be maintained in crowds. Photo by PAUL ELLIS / AFP

According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the two-metre distance and hygienic rules will “remain the most important measures to prevent the spread of the virus”.

This rule pertains to:

Seating / Spacing

At the cinema, theatre, or any other event venues where a large group gets together, seats must be arranged to enable everyone to keep the required distance between each person and each group.

Families or persons living under the same roof can sit together, but must be at least two metres away from others.

This measure also applies to the flow of people — coming in or out of the venue — which must be managed so that everyone can keep the reglementary distance from each other.

Again, those living together are not required to distance from one another, only from other people.

However, if it is not possible to keep distance in certain situations, masks must be worn by each person.

READ MORE: What you are allowed to do in Switzerland again as of today 

Contact tracing

Practically speaking, it may be difficult in some situations for large groups to keep a two-metre distance from each other.

In such cases, and in addition to the use of masks, the tracking of contacts must be ensured. 

It will surely be a major headache for event organisers, but the FOPH requires that names and phone numbers of each participant and each family must be collected, so that they can be notified if an outbreak of Covid-19 is subsequently detected.

This can be done through an online reservation system or a contact form.

And during seated events, information relating to the place occupied by each person must also be indicated.

Reception areas and performance halls must be set up in a way that ensures traceability. For example, the FOPH said that the venue could be divided into separate areas to facilitate tracking and notifying the participants if infection is found within a group.

Organisers must also be able to tell cantonal health authorities, for up to 14 days after the event, which close contacts have taken place.


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Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here.