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HEALTH

Coronavirus: Switzerland to close ‘superspreader’ Zurich club

Authorities in Zurich have announced the temporary closure of the city’s Flamingo Nightclub, the site of Switzerland’s first coronavirus ‘superspreader’ event.

Coronavirus: Switzerland to close ‘superspreader’ Zurich club
Photo by Mark Angelo from Pexels

Around 300 revellers who attended the Flamingo Club on June 21st were told to quarantine. 

A man tested positive for the virus after visiting the club, with five other attendees also testing positive after developing symptoms of the virus.

The incident has been reported in the Swiss media as the country’s first ‘superspreader’ event. 

READ: More than 800,000 Swiss download Covid app in three days

Swiss authorities said on Tuesday they wanted to see the club closed for breaching lockdown protocols. 

An assessment of the guest list submitted by the club showed fake names, email addresses and incorrect telephone numbers, while authorities also believe not all attendees were required to fill it out completely. 

Authorities said one third of the information given was fake or inaccurate. 

Pursuant to the directive, the earliest the club can open is July 6th. 

A representative from the cantonal authorities told Swiss tabloid Blick that the club needed to remain closed until it provided a ‘protection concept’ which would show how it would comply with lockdown requirements. 

Zurich health director Natalie Rickli (SVP) criticised the club for allowing “fake names” to be recorded, saying “it can't go on like this”. 

“Next weekend will show whether it works better. If this is not the case, we reserve the right to close clubs.”

‘A system error’

The club’s management denied any allegations of negligence, saying that all procedures were adhered to and that the failures must have come about through a ‘system error’. 

A spokesperson said “we recorded people's information electronically. And checked at the entrance that they really registered. The only thing I can imagine is a system error.”

The club said those who tested positive visited several other establishments on the evening in question, suggesting that infection may have taken place elsewhere. 

 

 

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TAXES

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. 

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