SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

UPDATED: What are the coronavirus measures in every Swiss canton?

Several Swiss cantons have gone beyond the federal minimum by putting in place their own measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

UPDATED: What are the coronavirus measures in every Swiss canton?
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Note: These measures are up to date as at 25th November, 2020. 

While some have largely stuck to the federal framework, others – particularly those in the hard-hit west and south of the country – have put in place stronger measures. 

Here are the measures in place in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. These measures are in addition to those which apply at the federal level. 

While cantons are free to adopt any measures they see fit in the battle against the virus, they are also required to abide by those put in place at a federal level. 

READ: Switzerland's new coronavirus measures explained 

Have we missed anything? Is there anything you’d like to mention about the measures in your canton? Please get in touch at [email protected] to let us know. 

Which states have not put in place any measures? 

Several cantons have been happy to stick with the minimums adopted at the federal level. 

Despite cases skyrocketing in recent weeks, Appenzeller Innerrhoden has elected not to go beyond the federal minimum. Glarus, Schaffhausen and Thurgau have also elected to stick with the federal minimum.  

Aargau

There is a limit of 50 people in bars and clubs and all such venues need to present a hygiene plan in order to reach this amount. 

Adults are required to wear masks in elementary and secondary schools. 

Appenzeller Ausserrhoden 

The canton has gone beyond the federal mask requirement, calling for masks to be worn in all outdoor areas which are publicly accessible – including markets and other businesses. 

Employees are also required to wear masks indoors. 

Switzerland's new outdoor mask requirement: Everything you need to know 

At the federal level, masks must be worn outdoors when the mandatory distance of 1.5 metres cannot be kept. 

Basel City

Basel City from Monday, November 23rd put in place stricter new lockdown measures.

Restaurants, cafes and bars will be required to close under the new rules, but work and school canteens along with hotel restaurants for guests and street kitchens will be allowed to remain open. 

READ: Switzerland's test positivity rate 'among the worst in Europe' 

Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to serve takeaway food, although there will be a curfew on takeaway services from 11pm to 5am. 

Casinos and other gaming rooms will be forced to close. 

Strip clubs and brothels will also be required to close. 

Gyms, fitness centres, indoor swimming pools, dance studios, ice rinks and wellness centres will also be forced to close. 

Non-professional sports clubs will no longer be allowed to train. 

Events are to be restricted to 15 people. 

Beauty service providers such as hairdressers and massage providers will be allowed to remain open.

Basel Country

Only a maximum of 15 people can attend events, both public and private. 

Bars and restaurants are closed, with only takeaway available. Bars and restaurants must be closed completely between 11pm and 5am. 

Gyms, indoor swimming pools, dance studios, fitness and wellness centres, ice sports facilities and interiors of other sports facilities and sports stadiums are closed. 

Casinos, erotic shops, leisure and entertainment facilities are closed. 

Adults are required to wear masks in elementary and secondary schools, other than in classrooms. 

Students in secondary schools must wear masks, other than in classrooms. 

Bern

Only a maximum of 15 people can attend events. 

There is a limit of 100 people in bars and clubs and all such venues need to present a hygiene plan in order to reach this amount. Restaurants may however operate several different rooms with a max of 100 in each. 

Students in secondary schools must wear masks, other than in classrooms. 

Museums, gyms, fitness centres and cinemas must be closed. 

On November 19th, Bern extended its coronavirus measures until December 7th.

Fribourg

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than ten people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Geneva

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than five people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Non-essential shops are also closed. 

Schools up to secondary level may remain open. 

Measures are to remain in place until November 29th, at the earliest. 

READ MORE

Why does Geneva have the 'highest number of coronavirus infections in Europe'? 

Everything you need to know about Geneva's coronavirus shutdown 

Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Graubünden

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. 

Jura

One of Switzerland’s heaviest-hit cantons, Jura is currently under a state of emergency. 

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than five people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school and for people in offices. 

Lucerne 

There is a limit of 100 people in bars and clubs and all such venues need to present a hygiene plan in order to reach this amount.

Masks are required in secondary school and in markets. 

Sex shops are closed. 

People in retirement homes and in hospitals may have a maximum of two visitors per day. 

Masks are required in cars and in offices, provided the car or office contains two or more people who do not live in the same house. 

Neuchâtel

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than five people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Masks are required in secondary school and in offices. 

Nidwalden

Masks are required for teachers in secondary schools. 

Public events are limited to 30 people. 

Sex shops and brothels must remain closed. 

Obwalden

Public events are limited to 30 people. 

Schwyz

Public events are limited to 30 people. 

Masks must be worn in offices. 

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. 

Solothurn

Public events are limited to 30 people, while private events cannot have more than five people.

Bars and restaurants cannot have more than 30 people and must be closed from 11pm to 6am.

One visitor per day in hospitals and retirement homes.

Sex shops and brothels must remain closed, along with shisha bars. 

St Gallen

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. 

Visits to hospitals and nursing homes are banned other than for parents of hospitalised children and for close relatives at birth. 

Ticino

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than five people. 

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. 

Group sport cannot take place. 

Uri

Public events are limited to 30 people. 

Vaud

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than five people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Valais

Private and public gatherings cannot have more than ten people. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools are closed until the end of November. 

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. 

UPDATE: Valais becomes latest Swiss canton to tighten coronavirus restrictions 

Zug

There is a limit of 100 people in bars and clubs and all such venues need to present a hygiene plan in order to reach this amount.

Masks are required for pupils in secondary school. Masks are required in class unless distance can be maintained. 

Zurich

There is a limit of 300 people in bars and clubs and all such venues need to present a hygiene plan in order to reach this amount.

Adults must wear masks at schools.

Editor’s note: The above information has been provided as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. Please check with cantonal authorities for up to date information. 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

CANNABIS

UPDATE: What are Switzerland’s rules for cannabis consumption?

Switzerland has a complicated set of rules for both medical and recreational cannabis consumption. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: What are Switzerland's rules for cannabis consumption?

Long prohibited and seen as a gateway drug with potentially dangerous impacts, countries across the globe have begun legalising cannabis in recent years. 

While the legalisation for medical use has been widespread, there have also been successful legalisation campaigns in several countries. 

The situation in Switzerland is also in flux and has been complicated by a range of recent changes.

Whether referred to as cannabis, marijuana or hemp, Switzerland’s Narcotics Act qualifies it as “a psychoactive substance”, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being its most intoxicating ingredient.

The law specifies that “only THC is controlled under the Narcotics Act. Other active substances like cannabidiol (CBD) are not subject to the Narcotics Act as they do not have comparable psychoactive effects”.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Switzerland has legalised medical marijuana 

As of August 1st, the use of cannabis for medical purposes will be allowed in Switzerland

Patients who are medically prescribed the drug will no longer need to seek exceptional permission from the health ministry, as was the case prior to August 1st. 

Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply, with the health ministry issuing 3,000 exceptional authorisations in 2019.

The government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients” and was therefore lifting the ban on its use for that purpose, it said in a statement.

The previous procedure involved “tedious administrative procedures”, said the ministry. “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

As of August 1st, “the decision as to whether a cannabis medicinal product is to be used therapeutically will be made by the doctor together with the patient” the government wrote

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift ban on medical use cannabis

The new regulations could benefit thousands of people suffering from severe chronic pain, it added, including those with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

READ ALSO: Why Basel is about to become Switzerland’s marijuana capital

The law change will also mean that the cultivation, processing, manufacture and trade of cannabis for medical use will be subject to the Swissmedic regulatory authority, just as with other narcotics for medical use such as cocaine, methadone and morphine.

Legality of recreational cannabis is determined by the THC

THC of at least 1 percent is generally prohibited in Switzerland and use of products with this (or higher) content may be punishable by a 100-franc fine.

Of course, if someone is determined to smoke it, 100 francs may not be much a deterrent — but that’s a subject for another article.

“By contrast, possession of up to 10g of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offence”, the law states, as long as it is not used by or sold to minors.

Italy's constitutional court has blocked the latest efforts to legalise cannabis.

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

And, as with nearly everything else in decentralised Switzerland, “there are still considerable differences between cantons regarding implementation of the fixed penalty procedure”.

However, “cannabis flowers intended for smoking with a high proportion of cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 1 percent THC can be sold and purchased legally”, according to the legislation. 

That’s because, unlike the THC, cannabidiol “does not have a psychoactive effect”.

In other words, low-content THC and CBD will not give the “high” that recreational users seek.

When will Switzerland legalise recreational cannabis?

Currently, small amounts of recreational cannabis are tolerated in Switzerland.

“The decisive factor for classification as a banned drug is how much THC is contained in a cannabis product. If the THC content exceeds one per cent, the product is prohibited. Hashish is prohibited regardless of its THC content.”

As noted by the Swiss government, “If you are caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis (no more than 10 grams) for your own consumption, you will not be fined. In addition, if you supply (but do not sell) up to 10 grams to an adult, e.g. when sharing joints, you will not be fined.”

“If you are caught using cannabis, you may be given a fixed penalty fine of 100 francs.”

In June 2020, the National Council approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use.

The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. 

The study seeks to find out how the market for cannabis works – and how to combat the black market. The social effects of legalisation will also be examined. 

At this point, no decisions have been made. However, Swiss authorities have set certain conditions in case recreational use is approved.

The National Council said if cannabis were to be legalised, it must be locally grown in Switzerland – and it must be organic. 

Health Minister Alain Berset noted that legalisation should benefit Swiss farmers even though “very few producers have experience in this area”.

READ MORE: Switzerland backs recreational cannabis trials – with one condition

Can you grow your own cannabis?

In truth, a number of people cultivate marijuana plants on their balconies or in their (secluded) gardens for their own personal use.

As it turns out, the law allows it, as long as it is a variety of the plant that does not have a narcotic effect — that is, the THC content must be less than 1 percent. 

By the same token, cannabis-based products with THC content of below 1 percent can be brought into Switzerland from abroad.

However, the import rules differ depending on the type of product  it is — flowers, seeds, extracts, oils, or other goods.

How much cannabis is consumed in Switzerland each year?

Precise numbers are hard to come by, but according to an article in Le Temps, which based its information on a medical study, about 100 tonnes are consumed in the country annually.

Cannabis remains the largest market in terms of volume: it represents 85 percent of drugs consumed in Switzerland, netting between 340, 000 and 500,000 francs per year.

READ MORE: Drugs and alcohol: Just how much do the Swiss consume?

SHOW COMMENTS