Switzerland on Wednesday decided it will extend coronavirus measures, including the continued closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and museums, until the end of February.
At the announcement, Swiss authorities said they had put a number of stricter measures to the cantons for consultation.
These could be adopted nationwide, or they could be put in place in specific cantons if the situation deteriorates.
A decision on whether to adopt some or all of these measures will be made on Wednesday, January 13th.
What measures has the Swiss government proposed?
Health Minister Alain Berset has put forward a number of stricter measures to cut the spread of the virus in the cantons.
While these have not yet been approved, they are currently being debated by the federal and cantonal authorities.
Obligation to work from home
Working from home has been 'recommended' for anyone who can do so in Switzerland since October.
One option being considered is to require everyone who can work from home to do so all across Switzerland.
Currently, only the canton of Thurgau has put in place such a requirement.
Swiss media reports that “further restrictions in the workplace” are also being considered, although there have been no concrete indications as to what this will be.
Closure of all non-essential shops
One approach being considered is the closure of all non-essential shops – defined as “shops that do not sell everyday goods”.
This approach was adopted during the first wave of the virus in the Spring of 2020.
One further approach being considered is to close compulsory schools.
While the government has not provided express guidance on how this could take place, Swiss media reports that this is unlikely to happen at a federal level.
Instead, closures are likely on a canton-to-canton basis.
Further restrictions on gatherings in public and private
Another possible change would be to further limit the number of people that can meet in public or in private in Switzerland.
Currently, gatherings in public spaces are capped at 15 people, while a maximum of ten people can meet in private with friends and family.
Extra protections for vulnerable people
One suggestion made in the Swiss media is that additional protections could be introduced to protect the most vulnerable in society, however no specific examples were given about how this will be pursued.