Due to rising case rates, the Swiss government has announced sweeping new lockdown measures in a bid to slow down the continued spread of the virus.
The measures will apply from Monday, October 19th.
Mask requirement indoors all across Switzerland
Four months after putting in place a federal mask requirement for public transport, masks have now been made compulsory in all publicly accessible indoor spaces.
While some cantons had previously put such rules in place, they will now apply across the country.
As reported by Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes, this includes: “shops, shopping centres, banks, post offices, museums, libraries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, interiors of zoological and botanical gardens and animal parks, restaurants, bars, discos, gaming salons, hotels (with the exception of guest rooms), entrance and entrance areas Cloakrooms in swimming pools, sports facilities and fitness centres, in medical practices, hospitals, churches and religious institutions.”
Besides people having to wear masks in bars and restaurants now in every canton, consumption of food and drinks can only take place while seated.
This rule applies regardless of whether the venue is indoors or outdoors.
Public and private events
Public events will have a cap of 15 people – for instance in parks, squares and on walking paths.
This limit will not apply to political rallies and protests, although masks and distancing will be required.
At private events with more than 15 people, consumption will be allowed only when seated – with masks required unless someone is seated.
Private events with more than 100 people will need to submit a hygiene and safety plan.
'Meetings' as part of sporting clubs are not spontaneous, which means they are not restricted – provided the club has presented an approved hygiene and safety plan.
Working from home recommended
The Federal Council also said working from home was recommended for all who were able to do so.
Not only does this minimise the risk of an outbreak, but it would also lessen the chance that an entire department would go into quarantine should an infection be detected.
'Worrying' increase in new infections
“The sharp increase in the number of contaminations in recent days is worrying. Indeed, it concerns all age groups and all cantons,” the government said in a statement.
Although the pandemic had initially largely spared the wealthy Alpine nation, cases have now been soaring and on Friday it reported 3,087 new cases.
Switzerland is now the European country where virus infections have progressed the fastest in the past week, with a rise of 146 percent according to AFP data. Total deaths have reached 1,822, out of a population of 8.5 million.
“This last week infections have doubled,” President Simonetta Sommaruga told a press conference as she unveiled national restrictions to contain a crisis that had previously been the responsibility of Switzerland's regions or cantons.