Covid-19: What’s the outlook for Easter weekend in Switzerland?

Covid-19: What's the outlook for Easter weekend in Switzerland?
Eggs will be part of Easter tradition, despite Covid restrictions. Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP
Easter is just over three weeks away, but what will you be able to do in Switzerland over the long holiday weekend?

This year Easter weekend is from Good Friday April 2nd until (and including) Monday April 5th.

It is difficult to predict what restrictions will still be in place over Easter, but this holiday will probably not be as ‘normal’ and carefree as in pre-pandemic years.

This what we know so far. 

Restaurants

The Federal Council said restaurants will be able to open their outdoor terraces either on March 22nd or April 1st, but only if the epidemiological situation allows it. 

However, in order for that to happen, a number of criteria has to be met: the infection positivity rate should fall below 5 percent, occupancy of the intensive care units by coronavirus patients should be below 25 percent, and the R-rate  — which indicates Covid’s ability to spread —must be below 1. 

Right now one of these conditions is not met: the R-rate has been hovering at 1.09 in most of Switzerland.

Also, it is not certain whether the current limit of five people for indoor gatherings will be lifted by Easter, so large family gatherings may not be on the table.

The Federal Council will consult with the cantons on Friday and announce what, of any, measures will be lifted on March 19th.

Given all these unknowns, it is difficult to plan ahead. Let’s have a look at what may and may not be possible on Easter.

Travel

It depends where you want to go.

A trip abroad may be problematic. Italy, for instance, is considering new restrictions  amid warnings that the spread of new variants is fuelling a third wave of infections. 

READ MORE: Which of Switzerland’s neighbouring countries can you enter – and what are the rules?

And Switzerland requires arrivals from certain regions of Austria, France and Italy to quarantine for 10 days, which means weekend trips to those areas are out of the question for most people. 

Likewise, 18 European countries are on the quarantine list, which makes foreign travel impractical at the moment. 

READ MORE:UPDATED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and quarantine rules?

However, a trip within Switzerland is possible, as long you comply with all the measures that are currently in place, such as masks, social distance, and hand hygiene.

And if you stay in a hotel in Switzerland, you will be able to eat in the on-site restaurant.  Hotels are allowed to serve meals to their overnight guests, but not to the public at large.

Outdoor events

Weather permitting, outdoor activities, including traditional ones like egg hunts, are your best bet.

Zoos, botanical gardens, as well as sports and cultural activities involving up to 15 people are permitted.

Skiing

Slopes in some high-altitude Swiss resorts are usually open until after Easter, so skiing may be a possibility.

Ski areas are implementing various rules and restrictions to rein in the spread of coronavirus and its various mutations.

However, if you plan on staying overnight in rented accommodation in a ski resort — or anywhere else in Switzerland for that matter — only five people will be permitted to stay together.

 


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