How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents?

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How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents?
Cross-border shopping is still allowed. Photo: AFP

While people in France and Germany hunker down for their second lockdowns in six months, the measures will have only minimal impact on those living on the Swiss side of the borders.


First, France.

The lockdown this time around is not as strict as it was in March, because borders between Switzerland and France are open, and controls are random. 

According to Tribune de Genève, there is no disruption to the cross-border transportation network – either on Tram 17 or the Léman Express. 

However, anyone crossing from Switzerland to France now will have to carry an 'exit certificate' for travel on French territory – the same signed form that is required of all French residents during the lockdown.

This applies not only to cross-border workers who return from their Swiss jobs to their homes in France, but also to those who go to France to shop

According to Christian Dupessey, the mayor of Annemasse, the French town that borders Geneva, the Swiss can still come to France to do their shopping, as long as they have the required paperwork.

Forms can be downloaded here

Without such a form, first-time offenders risk a 135-euro fine.


However, keep in mind that curfew is in effect in France, which means you can't be out and about between 9pm and 6am.

Shopping sprees are widespread in border regions, as prices for food and other products are cheaper in neighbouring states than in Switzerland.

During the first lockdown, cross-border shopping was forbidden, as frontiers were closed to all non-essential traffic.

What is the situation at the German border?

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said last week that the country's borders with its neighbours, including Switzerland, would remain open.

READ MORE: Swiss go 'binge-shopping' in Germany amid fears of border closures

However, Germany already placed Switzerland on its quarantine list on October 22nd, because Swiss Covid infection rates exceed those of its neighbour.

This means that anyone who enters from Switzerland must be tested on arrival in Germany. The tested person must then quarantine until the result comes through.

But the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, exempts Swiss arrivals from quarantine, under some conditions.

For example, those crossing the border from Switzerland to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

Baden-Württemberg's authorities also allowing residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich to come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours.


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