Here’s how large events will look in Switzerland from October 2020

Events with more than 1,000 people will be allowed in Switzerland again from October pursuant to a strict set of rules.

Here’s how large events will look in Switzerland from October 2020
A pre-coronavirus crowd at a Young Boys Bern game. Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP

Banned since the start of the pandemic, events with more than 1,000 people will again be allowed to take place in Switzerland from October 1st

In a meeting with cantonal officials on Wednesday, the Federal Council laid out the requirements that event organisers must adhere to if they are to be allowed to host events again. 

All events require a ‘protection concept’, which lays out how the requirements will be adhered to. 

All patrons must be seated at events, except for outdoor events such as skiing or cycling races. 

The Swiss government's new rules for events from October 1st (in German). Image: FOPH/CH

At football and ice hockey games, all attendees must wear masks. Stadiums may be filled only to a maximum of two-thirds of overall capacity. 

Away fans will not be allowed to attend. 

Contact tracing must be implemented at all events. 

While health authorities initially flagged an alcohol ban at all major events, this was walked back on Wednesday. 

Instead, the Federal Council on Wednesday decided that alcohol can be sold at large events as long as patrons can stick to social distancing rules.

While the above are federal minimums, cantons are free to put in place additional restrictions – including banning alcohol or revoking permits from event organisers. 



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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad