In a joint press release, Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, and Jura announced on Wednesday that the decision to re-open restaurants and cafés “was made in a concerted manner and with a desire for harmonisation and clarity” among the neighbouring regions.
Of the French-speaking cantons, only Valais restaurants will remain shut, as the canton had extended its closures until December 13th.
Authorities noted that the decision to re-open was driven by the steadily declining coronavirus infection rates in the regions, which until the first week of November had been among the most impacted in Switzerland.
Cantonal officials said that the re-opening “will take place in a strict health framework. It will be mandatory to consume seated and provide contact details for tracing. There can only up to four people per table.”
Tables must be at least 1.5 metres apart and masks must be worn if customers are not seated.
Additionally, establishments must remain closed between 11 pm. and 6 am, in accordance with federal rules.
Authorities said they would monitor “for the possible effects of the re-opening on the pandemic. This means the decision can be revoked if the health situation requires it”.
In Vaud, electric heaters will be allowed outside the restaurants to encourage customers to eat outdoors.
Other measures will also be lifted
For instance, in Vaud museums will re-open on December 1st, and religious services will resume with a maximum of 30 people. They will have to wear masks and keep the 1.5-metre distance.
Also in Vaud, more relaxed measures will be put in place for the holidays: from December 18th to January 3rd, the limit for gatherings will be raised from five to 10 people.
However, participation in other public or private events will remain limited to five people.
In Geneva, the Council of State announced on Wednesday that museums, exhibition halls and libraries will be open from November 28th.
This new relaxation comes after hairdressers, beauticians and other wellness services resumed their activities on Saturday.
Until then, all non-essential businesses in Geneva had been shut down since the beginning of November to curb the canton’s alarmingly high contamination rate.
You can see the situation in other Swiss cantons here.