UPDATE: Where in Switzerland are masks compulsory right now?

Where, and under what circumstances, are masks required?

UPDATE: Where in Switzerland are masks compulsory right now?
More and more places in Switzerland require masks. Photo by AFP

NOTE: This report was last updated on October 13th, 2020. Switzerland imposed a nationwide set of mask rules on October 29th. Click here for more information

Switzerland's federal system – with nationwide rules as well as the laws of each of the 26 cantons – can make it difficult to work out what applies where. 

Here is an overview of where masks are now mandatory. 

Please consult federal and cantonal authorities for official information. 

Public transport

On the national level, everyone over the age of 12 must be masked on all public transport, including train, bus, tram, metro, funicular, ski lift, boat or ferry. 

Masks are also compulsory at protests and demonstrations.

These are the only two requirements that are applied nationally; the following ones are enforced on cantonal basis.

Shops and supermarkets

As at October 13th, 12 cantons have decided that masks will be required in shops and supermarkets in their cantonal boundaries:  Zurich, Zug, Basel City, Bern, Geneva, Fribourg, Valais, Solothurn, Ticino, Neuchâtel, Vaud and Jura.

Two more – Schaffhausen and Schwyz – will require masks from October 16th

In Schwyz, while the mask rule applies to shops and supermarkets – along with cinemas, post offices and places of worship – it will only apply where minimum distance cannot be kept. 

Bars and restaurants

Masks are also required in restaurants and bars in Geneva, JuraVaudBasel City and Bern

Zurich put in place a mask requirement in bars and restaurants from October 15th, unless the bar or restaurant is seated only

In Schwyz, while the mask rule applies to bars, it will only apply where minimum distance cannot be kept. 

Staff at bars and restaurants are required to wear masks in Zurich, Zug, Jura, Basel City, Ticino and Fribourg. 

Clubs, events and discos

Cantons of Basel Country, Bern, Zurich, Aargau, Zurich, Solothurn and Basel City, require guests to wear a mask in discos and clubs. 

In Schwyz, masks will be required at all public and private events with more than 50 people. 

Clubs are closed in Geneva.


SWISS made masks compulsory on all its flights from July 6th, before the federal government extended it to all airlines on August 15th

Children 6 and over and all adults will have to wear face masks on all European flights. The EU Transport Ministers reached agreement on various health measures to be imposed on board aircraft flying over the continent, including mandatory mask requirements. 

Masks are required in Geneva Airport from Tuesday, July 28th. 

What about schools?

Masks have been made compulsory in high schools and vocational education centres in the western canton of Neuchâtel. 

Neuchâtel has followed the lead of Lucerne and Geneva in requiring masks in schools, although unlike Lucerne students do not have to pay for their own masks. 

Neuchâtel State Councilor Monika Maire-Hefti told Le Temps “Wearing a mask will be compulsory in post-compulsory education, if one cannot respect 1.5 meters of distance”. 

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

In practice, Le Temps reports that masks will be compulsory inside all high schools and vocational centres in Neuchâtel as distance requirements will be difficult to comply with. 

Masks will not compulsory outside, while Maire-Hefti also said “”in some workshops that are large enough, however, the students should not wear them.”

The canton has ordered 120,000 masks for students to wear in order to comply with the requirement. 

From August 31st, masks will be required at universities in Fribourg and from October 12th in Bern. 


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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?