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Why Zurich, Ticino and Lucerne want to legalise Sunday shopping

In most Swiss cities and towns, shopping on Sundays is forbidden. Three cantons want to change that.

Shopping on a Sunday could become legal in Zurich. Photo by Arie Wubben on Unsplash
Shopping on a Sunday could become legal in Zurich. Photo by Arie Wubben on Unsplash

Government representatives in the cantons of Zurich, Ticino and Lucerne have called for a change in the rules for Sunday shopping. 

Currently, both retail and grocery shopping is only allowed on Sunday in a handful of touristic mountain cantons. 

The representatives argue a change is needed to boost tourism after the economic damage caused by the Covid pandemic. 

Carmen Walker Späh, Economics Director of the Canton of Zurich, told a media conference on Friday that Swiss cities needed to be more interesting and lively to attract tourists on Sundays. 

READ MORE: Can Switzerland’s ski season withstand Omicron surge?

“In St.Moritz you can also buy your ski equipment on Sundays. But if you forgot your swimming trunks in Zurich, you are faced with closed doors,” Späh said. 

Economic department bosses from Ticino and Lucerne were also present at the conference. 

While tourism is slowly rebounding in Switzerland despite the continued uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, Späh said the situation was particularly dire in larger metropolises like Zurich and Geneva due to the lack of business travellers. 

READ MORE: Swiss tourism rebounding despite Omicron threat

Experts believe that business travel is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Späh called upon “the federal council to give tourism a booster”. 

Will such a change come to pass? 

Currently, Swiss labour law prevents people in certain industries from working on Sundays, which consequentially means that businesses in these areas are closed. 

It is however possible to receive an exemption to the rules to set up ’tourism zones’ where the rules do not apply. This is the case in several resort towns where winter sport is popular. 

EXPLAINED: What are the current rules for entering Switzerland?

In order for a change in policy to become law, an amendment to the ‘no working on Sunday’ ordinance must be approved by federal authorities. 

The first step is for cantons however to canvass opinion locally on the topic and lay out areas where these tourism zones should be. 

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REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

Zurich’s most popular baby names from 2021 have been revealed. A strong trend towards short names has emerged - and there’s barely an Urs or Ursula in sight.

REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

On Thursday, Zurich council published its list of most popular baby names in 2021. 

During 2021, 5,251 babies were born across the canton, which is Switzerland’s most populous. 

On top of the list for boys was Noah, with 27 of the boys born last year receiving the biblical name. 

The leader for the girls was a little more controversial, with two different names laying claim to the crown. 

While 28 of the girls born in Zurich last year were called Olivia, there were 44 girls born in total with a variation of Sophia/Sofia. 

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

Short names dominated both lists, with Emma, Anna, Ella and Mia ranking high for girls, alongside Leo, Louis and Theo for boys. 

Another trend is that diversity is on the slide in Zurich, with fewer names given than in previous years. 

Swiss tabloid Blick reports that while 15 years ago there were 62 different names for every 100 people, there were less than 50 (48 for girls and 47 for boys) in 2021. 

Middle names are also on the rise in Switzerland, with 57 percent having one in 2021 compared to 48 percent in the 1990s. 

How does this compare to Switzerland? 

Although the 2021 figures haven’t been released for Switzerland, those from 2020 showed Noah was popular across the country as the favourite boys name. 

Olivia however was not even in the top five for girls names in Switzerland, where Mia, Emma and Mila were the most popular. 

Much like pretty much everything in Switzerland, there are significant differences between linguistic regions. 

In total, there were 461 Mias born in Switzerland last year, followed by 407 Emmas and 350 Milas.

Switzerland saw 507 Noahs born last year, followed by 372 Liams and 359 Matteos.

Mia and Noah are the most popular names in German-speaking Switzerland as well as in the country as a whole, which is of course helped by the fact that around 60 percent of Switzerland speaks German.

French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandie, saw Gabriel and Emma top the charts in 2020.

Sofia claimed top prize in the Italian-speaking part of the country, while Leonardo was far and away the biggest winner among the boys.

The situation is slightly different among Switzerland’s foreigners, with many opting to stick with names popular in their home countries, rather than those in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: What are the most popular baby names among foreigners in Switzerland?