'Retail tourism': Geneva residents defy lockdown rules by shopping in Vaud

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'Retail tourism': Geneva residents defy lockdown rules by shopping in Vaud
Geneva residents come to Vaud to have their hair cut. Photo by AFP

As all non-essential stores and businesses are closed in Geneva until November 30th, many residents are going shopping in the neighbouring Swiss canton of Vaud, where coronavirus restrictions are less stringent.


Among Geneva’s ‘mini-lockdown’ measures implemented on October 29th is the closure of all ‘non-essential’ shops and services. Only ‘basic necessity’ shops like food stores and pharmacies remain open. 

On the other hand, the nearby canton of Vaud adapted more lenient rules, allowing all shops, along with wellness and personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons, to continue to operate.

READ MORE: Vaud joins other Swiss cantons in implementing stricter Covid-19 measures

According to RTS public television, “shopping tourism is developing as a result of cantonal disparities in health measures”.


Numerous cars with Geneva license plates are parked in Vaud shopping centres like the one in Chavannes, which is in close proximity to Geneva. 

That's because many Geneva residents drive to Vaud for what is deemed ‘non-essential’ shopping and services, the broadcaster said. 

For instance, RTS interviewed one Geneva man who said he came to Vaud to purchase a pair of slippers “which are now impossible to buy in Geneva”.

But health experts warn that this kind of ‘canton-hopping’ is risky during a pandemic.

If people circulate from Geneva to Vaud, “everything that happens there will happen here ", said Didier Trono, member of Switzerland’s Covid-19 Task Force.

“People must understand that they have to adhere to the measures put in place in their own canton”, he added.


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