Switzerland: Will I have to quarantine when I enter Germany?

Germany on Thursday morning added all of Switzerland to its ‘high risk’ quarantine list. Does this mean everyone will need to quarantine, including from border regions?

Switzerland: Will I have to quarantine when I enter Germany?
Border controls between Switzerland and Germany in Spring 2020. Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

Germany has placed the entire country of Switzerland on its ‘high risk’ quarantine list due to rising infection rates, including border cantons.

Previously, Germany had been taking the approach of placing individual cantons on the list when case rates grew. 

Now, all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons have been placed on the list – including those which sit on the border. 

The new list will apply as of midnight on Saturday, October 24th. 

Can I enter from Switzerland? 

The rule, implemented at a federal level, applies to arrivals from all parts of Switzerland. 

The German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, has however put through a series of exemptions which allow people to arrive from Switzerland under certain conditions. 

As reported by Südkurier on Thursday, those crossing the border from Switzerland into Baden-Württemberg for work or to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

A representative from the State Ministry of Social Affairs confirmed to Südkurier that this will apply to people crossing the border in either direction. 

“Commuters are allowed to travel in and out of the country every day without being tested or having to isolate themselves”, the spokesperson said

How long can I stay for?

Good question. 

In order to avoid quarantine, the stay will need to be less than 48 hours.

If a person stays longer than 48 hours, they will have to quarantine. 

As reported by Südkurier “if you meet with friends in a risk area for coffee, you can easily travel back without having to undertake any measures. However, anyone who spends a long weekend from Friday to Monday in the risk area (i.e. more than 48 hours) will need to quarantine, get tested and report to the health department.”

Are there any other exceptions to the quarantine requirement? 

Anyone visiting their partner or children which they have custody of will be able to avoid the requirement. 

Similarly, anyone undertaking urgent medical treatment will be able to avoid quarantine. 

Police officers and soldiers are also exempt to the rule. 

What about shopping or meeting new friends across the border?

Entering Germany in order to go shopping or meet ‘casual’ friends is still allowed, but only in the state of Baden-Württemberg and only for less than 24 hours. 

Furthermore, this is only from the so-called ‘border’ cantons. These cantons are the Appenzells (Innerrhoden and Ausserrhoden), Aargau, Basel City, Basel Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich. 

What fines apply for breaching the rules? 

The fines for breaching quarantine run from €500 to €10,000. 

The Ministry of Social Affairs did however say that larger border controls would not be implemented at this point. 

Instead, the Ministry was appealing to citizens to stick to the rules. 

What form will I need when crossing the border?

The Ministry of Social Affairs has said no official form will be necessary. 

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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.