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Everything that changes in Switzerland in February 2021

Everything that changes in Switzerland in February 2021
Photo by Louis from Pexels
The new year is just clicking into gear, but February 2021 is already bringing with it some important changes.

We're only one month into 2021, but already a few things are changing. From car stickers to alarms – and of course coronavirus – are some important changes for February 2021. 

Car stickers

You had the entire month of January to purchase the 2021 motorway sticker to affix on your windshield. If you haven’t done it yet, then as of February 1st you could be fined 200 francs if you are caught driving on a motorway without it.

Testing the alarm signal

The general alarm signal will be tested nationwide, as it is every year, on February 3rd at 1.30 pm. The cantons will also broadcast a notification on the Alertswiss channels.

The general alarm signal – a steady oscillating siren lasting one minute – is intended  to alert the population of an impending emergency or disaster. 

Fines for failing to comply with coronavirus measures

Anyone who violates a coronavirus measure in Switzerland is liable for a fine of between 50 and 200 francs. 

The fines were decided upon at a meeting on January 27th and will be put in place from February 1st.

They are in addition to existing fines of up to 10,000 francs for failing to quarantine. 

EXPLAINED: What are the details of Switzerland's coronavirus restrictions? 

Anyone who fails to wear a mask in public transport, stations or other areas where masks are required risks a fine of up to 200 francs. 

The fines can also be issued for anyone who participates in a prohibited event or who organises an event or gathering which contravenes the country’s coronavirus measures. 

Under Switzerland's Epidemics Act, people can be fined up to CHF5,000 for negligent behaviour against coronavirus measures, and CHF10,000 for wilful behaviour. 

These fines are most often threatened for people who breach quarantine rules.

Railway disruptions

From Monday February 8th to April 1st, circulation at Bern Bümpliz Sud train station will be possible on one track only. This will result in a longer journey time between Fribourg and Bern.

Service in Bern between the IR15 train (Geneva-Airport-Lucerne) and the IC8 (Brig – Bern – Zurich – Romanshorn) may be disrupted.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is recommending that passengers from French-speaking Switzerland travelling to Zurich and beyond use the IC1 trains via Bern or IC5 via Biel. 

Shorter quarantines

From February 8th, Switzerland will shorten the applicable coronavirus quarantine from ten days to seven.

This means those told to self-isolate can come out of quarantine after seven days, rather than 10, with a negative test result.

The quarantine rule also applies to incoming travellers from a country with a high risk of infection.

READ MORE: Switzerland to shorten coronavirus quarantine, require negative PCR test on all flight arrivals 

Free coronavirus testing

Switzerland has introduced free nationwide coronavirus testing programme for people without symptoms in an effort to prevent large-scale outbreaks.

From January 28th, “the federal government pays for persons without symptoms to be tested so that those who are particularly vulnerable can be better protected and local outbreaks of infection can be contained early on”, authorities announced on Wednesday. 

The government said it was prepared to spend more than a billion dollars the scheme, saying asymptomatic people were probably responsible for most new infections.

EXPLAINED: How will Switzerland’s mass testing scheme work?

Mandatory PCR test for all air arrivals

In addition, anyone arriving by air will need to present a negative PCR test from February 1st. 

This applies to people from high-risk and non-high-risk countries. Those arriving not by air will have to show a PCR test only if they are coming from a high-risk country. 

Electronic form required to enter Switzerland

Everyone who enters Switzerland other than by car is required to complete an electronic form before entering from February 8th onwards. 

The measure was announced on Wednesday, January 28th, by the Swiss government.

Everyone entering via plane, ship, bus and train – but not via car – will be required to complete the electronic entry form.

According to the official government advice about the new requirement, “this means that infections can be traced back more quickly and easily and chains of infection can be broken early.”

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: All passengers arriving in Switzerland required to register from February 8th 

End of shutdown

If the epidemiological situation allows it, the current coronavirus shutdown measures, such as the closure of restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses, should end on the last day of the month – February 28th.

These businesses have been shuttered since January 18th in an attempt to curb the spread of the new coronavirus variants from the UK and South Africa. 

Stay tuned to The Local Switzerland for coverage of Switzerland's coronavirus lockdown. 


Member comments

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  1. I believe the PCR test requirement on arrival
    Is effective as of Feb 8th, not the 1st. It is listed as such on the BAG website.

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