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HEALTH

Switzerland rejects alcohol ban in stadiums

Switzerland's Federal Council has rejected a planned nationwide ban on selling alcohol in stadiums, despite Swiss health officials pushing for the move.

Switzerland rejects alcohol ban in stadiums
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

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

Events with more than 1,000 people will be again allowed in Switzerland from October 1st pursuant to a range of restrictions. 

Organisers of large events are required to submit a protection concept to show how they will ensure attendees comply with the rules. 

From October 1st, all attendees will be required to wear masks and standing will not be allowed (with few exceptions). 

Food and drink can only be consumed while patrons are seated, away fans will not be admitted and only two thirds of the seats may be used. 

‘Protection concept must not be endangered’ 

According to the Swiss government: “The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages are to be restricted to such an extent that the observance of the protection concept is not endangered by the viewers.”

In the lead up to the announcement, Swiss media reported that Health Minister Alain Berset was pushing for a ban on alcohol at large events in stadiums due to pressure from some cantonal authorities. 

At the announcement on Wednesday, Berset said the federal government was trying to act proportionately to the threat – but that cantons were free to put in place alcohol bans and other restrictions if they saw fit. 

“We are simply trying to act proportionately here. We already did that in mid-March. We are less strict here compared to other countries.

“You simply cannot say exactly what will happen, which is why we gave the cantons the flexibility to do so.

“You know, I like to have a beer too.”

While clubs and venues will have the power to expel those who do not comply with the rules, there are currently no fines for those who fail to do so. 

 

 

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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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