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ZURICH

‘Mediterranean nights’: Swiss cities to trial late night terrace bar openings

The cities of Zurich, Lucerne and St Gallen will allow bars and restaurants to open their terraces later than usual this spring and summer.

A terrace restaurant in Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
A terrace restaurant in Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Authorities in Zurich and Lucerne have been motivated by a similar project last year in St Gallen, which saw businesses recoup much needed funds after the Covid pandemic. 

St Gallen will repeat the project again this summer. 

Zurich

Zurich’s Mediterranean Nights project will see bars and restaurants allowed to open their terraces to 2am, instead of the current midnight, on six weekends in spring and summer. 

While the project has won support from the hospitality and gastronomy community, neighbourhood organisations have sought to shut it down, even taking the project to court. 

The eventual plan for six weekends was a compromise between the hospitality sector and neighbourhood organisations. 

The specific weekends will be set at a later date. 

Lucerne

Terraces in Lucerne will also be allowed to open until 2am under a similar project. 

Unlike in Zurich however, there will be no cap on the number of weekends that terraces can open later. 

FDP City Councilor Fabian Reinhard backed the project, saying it was worth looking at and there was no guarantee it would lead to a permanent change. 

“It is important that the city of Lucerne simply tries out what works and what doesn’t,” he told Swiss media. 

Reinhard said all factors would be considered, such as noise pollution and disturbances, not just whether the change was economically viable. 

St Gallen

St Gallen trialled the project in the autumn of 2021 and said it was successful. 

In 2022, it will be held over a longer period. 

Do you think Switzerland’s cities should open later? Or is the noise and disruption too much to take? Let us know. 

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FOOD & DRINK

Zurich mandates organic food for hospitals, schools and cafeterias

Hospitals, schools, canteens and a range of other venues in Zurich will need to ensure the majority of their food is organic, after the council passed an initiative.

Zurich mandates organic food for hospitals, schools and cafeterias

The initiative, passed on Wednesday by 71 votes to 41, stipulates that at least 50 percent of the offerings must be organic. 

It applies to retirement and care centres, hospitals, day care centres, schools, canteens and cafeterias. 

QUIZ: Would you pass Zurich’s Swiss citizenship test?

Environment and Health Director Andreas Hauri acknowledged that there may be some problems in converting over to organic food, but said he was “convinced we can still increase the proportion”. 

The city said it will now begin to examine how it can boost the proportion of organic foods to the required levels. 

The city’s nutrition strategy already calls for a greater amount of food from the surrounding region, but had previously been silent on the amount of organic food that should be included. 

While the initiative passed, there was some opposition from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP). 

The SVP said the change was “far removed from decency and reality”, arguing that it sent the wrong signals to developing countries. 

READ MORE: Will Switzerland be able to feed itself in the future?

The initiative is “an affront to people in poor countries who do not know how to feed themselves” said the SVP’s Johann Widmer. 

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) also opposed the change, saying it was unclear how the new standards would be implemented. 

Martina Zürcher asked how the 50 percent requirement should be measured. 

“In kilograms? In francs?” she said. 

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