Everything you need to know about Geneva’s coronavirus shutdown

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Everything you need to know about Geneva’s coronavirus shutdown
Geneva's coronavirus situation has continued to worsen. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

What is closing - and what is staying open? Here's what you need to know.


What are the national measures?

Last week the Swiss government announced new Covid-19 restrictions that were implemented on October 29th.

These measures apply all across Switzerland. Cantons cannot 'opt out' of implementing them. 

While a lockdown is not part of the new measures, masks must now be worn outdoors in all urban areas where "the concentration of people does not allow the necessary distances to be respected".

There is also an 11pm curfew for bars and restaurants, the closure of nightclubs and discos, as well as the limit of 10 people for private gatherings and 50 for public events.

These measures are ground rules, and each individual canton can implement further restrictions. In other words, while cantons can’t revoke any of the federal measures, they can add their own, more restrictive ones.

What has been introduced in Geneva?

On Sunday, October 31st, Geneva authorities announced a ‘semi-confinement’, to begin on November 2nd, which goes beyond Swiss national measures.

The measures have been put in place until November 29th, although they may be extended. 

They include closing all bars, restaurants and non-essential shops in a bid to rein in skyrocketing coronavirus cases.

Warning that Geneva is experiencing a "severe aggravation of the situation", cantonal authorities also shut down leisure establishments like cinemas, museums, ice rinks, libraries and pools.

Restaurants can sell takeaway food - and are allowed to offer delivery services. 

Non-essential shops will be allowed to operate online via a 'click and connect' system which allows goods to be picked up. 

People are encouraged to leave their homes only if strictly necessary, though there are no legal bans on moving about.


What can stay open?

Unlike the lockdown in the spring, schools up until secondary level and kindergartens will remain open.

Schools secondary level and above - along with universities - will need to move to distance learning. 

Markets, flower shops, libraries, pharmacies, supermarkets, optometrists, banks, mechanics and post offices can remain open. 

READ MORE: Geneva goes beyond national corona rules, shutting bars and restaurants 

What about the borders? 

Unlike in the spring, Geneva will keep its borders with France open. 

There will also be no restrictions on internal borders with Vaud. 

Can I visit my grandpa in hospital? My grandmother in a retirement home?

Visits to retirement homes and hospitals have not been banned under the rules. 

Can I go to church? 

While church services like mass have been largely banned, visiting church will not be restricted. 

Weddings can have up to five people and funerals can have up to 50. 

How many people can I meet with? 

Groups are capped at five people both indoors and outdoors. 

What about sport though?

Unless you're a professional sportsperson or a child, you will not be allowed to play. 

Only professional sport may continue, along with sports for people 12 and under. 

What about the referendum on November 29th?

At this stage, you will still be allowed to vote in Switzerland's November referenda. 




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