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Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2020

There’s a lot set to change in Switzerland this month - and not all of it is coronavirus related.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2020
A commuter wearing a protective face masks enters a metro station in Lausanne on May 11, 2020. AFP

From paying bills to wearing masks, there’s a lot set to change this month. 

Have we missed anything important? Get in touch at [email protected] 

Gender equality

The reformed Federal Act on Gender Equality went into force on July 1st.

It gives Switzerland's largest companies one year to monitor the salaries of their employees to detect any gender-based wage discrimination.

Pay a bill with a QR code

Keeping up with all your bills in Switzerland is hard even for native Swiss – but especially tough if you don’t speak the language. 

Fortunately that will be easier from July onwards, with QR codes appearing on bills sent to mailboxes all around Switzerland. 

QR codes will gradually phase out existing bills, letting you pay with just one click. 

Bill recipients simply scan a QR code with their phone and the payment can be made by clicking one command. 

New international train connections to begin on July 4th.

 

As of Saturday, the high-speed TGV Lyria starts operating several trains starting from Swiss cities of Geneva, Lausanne, Basel and Zurich, to Paris and Marseilles in France.

Also in July, some services will be suspended or modified due to repair works.

Masks in public transport

In a press conference on Wednesday, the Swiss government announced a surprising turn. The Federal Council announced a mask requirement for public transport – more than two months after masks were made compulsory in neighbouring countries. 

The mask requirement will be enforced from Monday, July 6th. 

The mask requirement will apply in all trains, trams, buses and on cable cars and ski lifts. Transport on ships and ferries will also be included. 

More information can be found at the following link. 

Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new compulsory mask requirement

Tourism from July 20th

Since June 15th, travel between most European countries has been re-opened, but restrictions are still in place for travellers from outside Europe from entering Switzerland. 

The EU announced that 15 so-called 'safe countries' would again be allowed in from July 1st, with the notable omission of the United States

Late on Wednesday, July 1st, Switzerland indicated it would follow the EU's decision – however this would not be until July 20th

A representative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration told The Local on July 1st that from July 20th, “Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and the EU states outside the Schengen area (Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus) from the list of high-risk countries.”

Where can I travel? 

While the majority of European borders are again open to Swiss travellers, Finland is still to open. That will take place on July 14th. 

There are also plans for reciprocal arrangements with some of the above countries – so stay tuned to see whether these are finalised in the coming days. 

Quarantines from certain countries 

Switzerland announced on July 1st the imposition of quarantines on arrivals from ‘high risk’ countries, however a list of those countries has not yet been provided. 

According to Swiss media sources, Serbia and Montenegro – along with possibly Sweden and Kosovo – may be subject to quarantines on arrival. 

The quarantine period will last for ten days. 

Affected people will be informed on planes, coaches and at the borders, and must register with the local authorities once in Switzerland.

Anyone who appears to be sick must not be allowed to board buses, trains or flights to Switzerland. 

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LEARNING FRENCH

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in Switzerland, or take down the address of a website, so here's how to do this if you're in the French-speaking part of the country.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 

Punctuation

Obviously punctuation points have their own names, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for Swiss websites or email addresses which end in. ch (pronounced pwan ce ash).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com.

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas bluewin pwan ce ash.

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway:

Comma , virgule. In French a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 

Numbers

If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that Swiss-French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 079 345 6780, in French you would say zero septante-neuf, trois-cents quarante-cinq, soixante-sept, huitante (zero seventy-nine, three hundred forty-five, sixty-seven, eighty ).

Mobile numbers in Switzerland  begin with 079 or 078 (zero septante-neuf or zero septante-huit).

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in Switzerland too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in Switzerland and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aimer (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the French-speakers can think up an alternative.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local

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