More Swiss cantons reintroduce coronavirus lockdown measures

Coronavirus lockdown measures have been strengthened in Valais, Lucerne and Fribourg, as more Swiss cantons take steps to curb rising infection rates.

More Swiss cantons reintroduce coronavirus lockdown measures
University students in Belgium wearing masks take socially-distanced exams. Similar requirements are to be implemented in some parts of Switzerland. Image: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

In Valais and Lucerne, nightclubs and bars will be subject to more stringent controls, while masks will be required at educational institutions in Lucerne and Fribourg. 

Valais and Lucerne

One week after four cantons in Switzerland’s north strengthened lockdown measures, the southern canton of Valais has done the same. 

READ: Several Swiss cantons to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions from Thursday 

From Thursday, July 16th, protective measures will be strengthened in bars and clubs. No more than 100 people will be allowed after 8pm, while contact information will need to be recorded to enable tracing. 

Unlike previously in Switzerland where this has been done via encouraging guests to fill out a book themselves, they will now need to provide their full name, telephone number and address which will be checked via an ID control. 

The venue will also call their mobile phone to make sure that the number is correct. 

Their arrival and departure times will also be recorded. 

All information must be stored for 14 days, after which it will be destroyed. 

Social distancing and hygiene requirements must be observed, however authorities in Valais have stopped short of those in northern Switzerland by not mandating the wearing of masks. 

Instead, masks are strongly recommended. 

In Lucerne, authorities will reduce the maximum number of people allowed in restaurants, events and nightclubs from 300 to 100 as of Friday, July 17th. 

Lucerne and Fribourg

Students at the University of Fribourg will be required to wear masks from the coming autumn semester onwards. 

The new rule applies from August 31st until January 31st and can be extended. 

Students will also be required to download the SwissCovid coronavirus tracing app, while every second seat in lecture halls will be left free.

As reported by the NZZ on Tuesday, the University of Basel is considering a similar requirement

In Lucerne, masks have been made compulsory at all high schools and vocational schools. The masks will need to be worn in class and also during lunch breaks.

As of Tuesday morning, Jura is considering a similar plan. 

Where else has lockdown been strengthened?

The cantons of Basel City, Basel Country, Aargau and Solothurn announced on Wednesday, July 8th, that rising infection rates necessitated the reintroduction of coronavirus lockdown measures. 

The measures will be put in place from Thursday, July 9th onwards and will include a lower maximum number of guests for nightclubs – or a mask requirement for all attendees. 

The maximum amount of guests who can attend a private party, restaurant, nightclub or other event will be reduced from 300 to 100, unless all guests wear masks while in the club. 

Patrons of clubs with fewer than 100 attendees will not require masks. 

Larger venues will be allowed to exceed the maximum on the premises provided that the number of patrons in each separate area does not exceed 100. 

Contact data must still be recorded. 

The rules will apply until December 31st, except for in Solothurn where the end date provided has been August 31st. 

The full press release can be found here

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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.