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2G or closures: Which Covid measures could Switzerland implement on Friday?

The Local Switzerland
The Local Switzerland - [email protected] • 17 Dec, 2021 Updated Fri 17 Dec 2021 14:43 CEST
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A teacher and first grade children are seen in a classroom in the primary school number 25 in Warsaw on the first day after the Polish authorities allowed the youngest children to leave home education and return to school, amid the novel coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic in Warsaw, January 18, 2021. - Poland's youngest children returned to school for the first time in over two months but most pupils will remain in virtual classrooms as experts warned of a growing psychological toll. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

The moment Switzerland has been waiting for is almost here: the Federal Council will announce on December 17 its decision regarding the tightening of Covid measures. This is what is likely to happen.

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On December 10th, the Swiss government presented two separate sets of proposed measures that could be adopted to curb the country’s worsening Covid situation.

The measures include the ‘2G’ rule — allowing access to indoor public venues only to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months — or partial closures of some businesses like restaurants.

A work-from-home obligation, as well as limiting the number of people allowed to get together indoors, are also part of the measures.

All the proposed restrictions are detailed here:

2G or closures: Switzerland presents new Covid measures plan

The proposals have been sent out to consultation to cantons, which had until Wednesday night to make their preferences known. Some cantons have now made their position public.

A common thread among them: they don't want large-scale closings.

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Watson news platform has compiled the cantons’ positions, as follows:

The 2G rule

Aargau is in favour of a comprehensive 2G rule, including testing for vaccinated people  (the so-called 2G-Plus), including for restaurants. However, the canton rejects a measure requiring a mask when not sitting at the table.

Basel-City

The canton also supports the proposed mandatory 2G rule for restaurants and other publicly accessible institutions in which a mask and / or seat obligation is possible. Clubs  could be exempted from the mask and seat requirement if they apply a 2G-Plus rule.

The canton also says people who have a booster vaccine do not need to take an additional test.

Bern

Bern advocates compulsory masking and seating at events and in restaurants.

However, it does not want a 2G-pPus rule: the introduction of 2G with mandatory testing would be perceived by many people as an “admission of the failure of the vaccination campaign”, the canton said.

If the situation in the hospitals worsens, Bern could consider closing areas without the possibility of wearing a mask.

Fribourg

The government is skeptical about the 2G-Plus, as this option is "neither economically viable nor understandable for the vaccinated".

Glarus

The canton is in favour of the 2G-Plus rule in order to prevent further strain on the hospital system.

Graubünden

The government does not want a mask requirement for events with 2G.

St. Gallen, Thurgau and both Appenzells

The four cantons are in favour of a 2G rule with mask and seating requirements in order to avoid overloading the hospitals. A negative test should also be required where the mask cannot be worn or where consumption is not feasible while sitting.

Schwyz

The government council supports the 2G option, but it rejects further measures.

Solothurn

The canton has spoken out in favour of a 2G rule, which is “urgently needed so that the overburdening of hospitals and the closure of businesses can be prevented”. It also supports the 2G-Plus rule for areas where there is no mask and seat requirement.

Lucerne, Uri, Obwalden and Nidwalden

All support the 2G rule with a mask and seat requirement.

In Nidwalden and Uri, however, people are campaigning for 3G to continue to apply in restaurants — meaning that people with a recent negative Covid test should be allowed to enter.

Zurich

The canton is supporting the  2G rule, as well as a mask and seat obligation without consumption at the seat.

People who have had three vaccines should receive certain advantages, Zurich authorities say: for places where mask and seating are not compulsory, they should neither have to be tested in advance nor put on a mask.

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As far as home office obligation is concerned, Aargau, Solothurn, Uri and Lucerne are in favour of this measure, while Zurich, and Bern are against it.

Vaud and Nidwalden would like to allow vaccinated and recovered people to work in the office.

In regards to partial closings, Glarus, Schwyz, Nidwalden and cantons of central Switzerland reject them. The Lucerne government stated that partial closure or even a shutdown of individual areas should be avoided.

The canton of Solothurn prefers implementing 2G-Plus before closings. However, if the epidemiological situation continues to deteriorate, especially because of the Omikron variant, closures of certain companies will have to be considered, the government council noted.

What about limiting the number of people allowed to get together?

The government of Bern rejects restrictions on private meetings such as family celebrations, as these cannot be controlled and "could lead to a deep division" within families.

The canton of Glarus is in favour of limiting private meetings to 10 people rather than five, and Solothurn agrees to restrictions for non-immunised people for private indoor meetings-

Although the cantons of eastern Switzerland welcomed the restrictions on private meetings in which unvaccinated people take part, they also say that these restrictions are neither controllable nor enforceable.

The cantons of central Switzerland are divided: The Lucerne government advocates an urgent recommendation regarding the restrictions on private events inside. However, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Uri reject restrictions on non-immunised people at private indoor meetings because such measures are not controllable or enforceable.

Mask requirement in schools

Aargau is in favour of compulsory masking from primary school on and will introduce a mask requirement from the first year.

Basel-City already has a mask obligation for pupils from the 5th year of primary school and is considering implementing the requirement in lower classes as well.

Bern rejects a general ban on face-to-face teaching in schools, though it says it should be switched to distance learning if possible. An expansion of the mask requirement to the primary level is ‘conceivable’ for the government.

Glarus and Schwyz don’t want a mask requirement in primary schools. Solothurn, on the other hand, supports it.

Zurich accepts a comprehensive mask requirement at primary school.

Universities and colleges

Aargau and Lucerne are in favour of distance learning for higher education.

Glarus wants to continue classroom teaching at universities, because a switch to distance learning would have serious consequences on upcoming exams. The cantons of eastern Switzerland also refuse to switch to distance learning.

Zurich rejects distance learning at universities and colleges as well, arguing that protection concepts such as the Covid certificate and mask requirement have proven their worth.

READ MORE: Which Swiss cantons handled the Covid pandemic best — and worst?

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The Local Switzerland 2021/12/17 14:43

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