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MAPS: Where are masks mandatory in Switzerland?

More and more cantons are adopting mask rules. Here's where masks are required in Switzerland.

MAPS: Where are masks mandatory in Switzerland?
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / 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. 

Note: The following is correct as of October 14th but is subject to change. 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, JuraVaud and Bern

Masks are required in Zurich in bars and restaurants, 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.

Aeroplanes

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?

Adults must wear masks in schools in Zurich from October 19th

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. 

Masks are required at universities in Fribourg and in Bern. 

 
 

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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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