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WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in Switzerland in April 2022

From Covid measures to banned plastics, this is what April 2022 will look like in Switzerland.

A clocktower in the Swiss city of Zurich. Image: Pixabay
A clocktower in the Swiss city of Zurich. Image: Pixabay

Remaining Covid measures to fall

From April 1st, Switzerland will drop Covid-related restrictions that are still in place “if the epidemiological situation evolves as expected”, the Federal Council announced.

This means the obligation to wear masks on public transportation and in healthcare facilities, as well as the requirement to isolate for five days in case of a Covid infection, will end on April 1st.

READ MORE: Legal changes you need to know about in Switzerland in 2022

E-bikes

From April 1st onwards, e-bikes will need to have their lights on at all times, rather than just at night or during periods of poor visibility. 

This reflects the rules for cars and motorbikes in Switzerland, both of which need to have their lights on at all times. 

If you do not have your lights on – or if you don’t have lights at all – you may be subject to a fine. More info is available here

READ MORE: The 12 strange laws in Switzerland you need to know

SwissCovid app to be deactivated

After April 1st, SwissCovid will disappear from the Apple and Google app stores, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

“With the lifting of the obligation to isolate in April, the prerequisites for an effective continuation of the SwissCovid app are no longer there, since contact tracing will be greatly reduced”, said FOPH spokesperson Katrin Holenstein.

Depending on how the epidemiological situation develops in the winter of 2022/2023, the operation of the SwissCovid app could be resumed quickly. Therefore, the necessary IT infrastructures will continue to be maintained, she said.

The app was launched in June 2020 to track infection chains.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in 2022

Rewind the clocks

OK so this one technically takes place in March, although it will take place on the final weekend of the month. 

Daylight saving time (DST) will begin at 02:00 am on Sunday March 27th, when Swiss clocks will go forward an hour. Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour later and there will be more light in the evening.

DST will end on Sunday October 31st at 03:00 am.

“Oxo” plastics will be banned

These plastics — which are not compostable — disintegrate too fast to be recyclable and are therefore hazardous for the  environment and will be outlawed in Switzerland from April 1st.

By adapting this ordinance, the Swiss government is aligning itself with a similar regulation already in force in the European Union.

Swiss Pass for children

The paper version of a railway Junior card and the Accompanied Child card allowing children aged six to 16 to travel for free on public transport if accompanied by an adult is now available only in a digital form for new customers.  

For existing clients, the change will be effective from April 1st.

More information is available here

EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Ski season ends in some Swiss resorts

While most of Switzerland’s high-altitude ski lifts remain open through April and even May, some close in April.

Among them are First (Grindelwald), Madrisa (Davos Klosters), Evolène (Valais), and a number of others.

You can see what they are, as well as closing dates for other resorts here.

Tax time!

It may not be anyone’s favourite time of the year, but there is no way to escape it: Swiss tax declarations are due on March 31st for most residents.

Therefore, if you are reading this in the lead up to April, you better get cracking and hand in your tax return. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex marriage, new rules for cars, and music festivals: this is what's in store for Switzerland in July.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex couples can marry at last

After Switzerland voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum on September 26th, 2021, the new law will enter into force on July 1st.

Gay couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership — which did not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children — will suffice to convert a current partnership.

READ MORE: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

Sessions with psychologists will be reimbursed by health insurance

Until now, Swiss basic insurance (KVG / LaMal) only covered mental health and treatment provided by psychiatrists.

But starting on July 1st, the cost of counselling offered by licensed psychologists will also be refunded, after agreement on hourly rates was reached between the association of psychologists and groups which determine medical rates.

READ MORE:  What isn’t covered by Switzerland’s compulsory health insurance?

New rules for electronic voting: pilot tests

Cantons will again be able to carry out electronic voting trials from July 1st.

The Federal Council has set July 1st as the entry into force of the new rules.

Electronic voting has been in the trial phase since 2004. Fifteen cantons have already created the necessary legal bases and conducted more than 300 successful tests.

Electronic voting will  only be accessible to part of the population — 30 percent of the cantonal electorate and 10 percent of the Swiss electorate as a whole.

Installing solar panels will become easier

Some solar installations on facades, dams or noise barriers can more easily be built from July 1st, as the Federal Council removed prior administrative obstacles to these actions.. The granting of authorisations for these structures may be accelerated and the conditions relaxed.

It will therefore be easier to set up such installations on a dam lake in an alpine environment or on a less sensitive part of the territory. There will no longer be a need for authorisation to install solar panels on roofs.

Swiss vehicles to be equipped with black boxes

Black boxes will be mandatory for new types of passenger cars and vans from July 1st, after the entry into force of a UN regulation.

The new regulation aims to allow significant progress in gathering data on road accidents and vehicle safety, according to the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Thanks to the new device, investigators will be able to reconstruct an accident from five seconds before and until the vehicle is immobilised.

Summer holidays begin

Depending on the canton, almost all schoolchildren in Switzerland will start their summer break between July 4th and 11th. You can find out the date in each canton here.

However, getting to and from your holiday destination by air may not be all that relaxing: airports in Switzerland and throughout Europe are expecting huge crowds and chaos as travel is picking up after two years of Covid restrictions.

There will also be delays and disruptions due to some previously scheduled flights being cancelled.

Which flights have SWISS airlines cut ahead of summer season?

Passengers are advised to contact their airline to find out if their flight is affected.

READ MORE: ‘‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Switzerland’s famous jazz and rock festivals

July is the month when two world-famous music festivals take place annually in Switzerland.

The first, Montreux Jazz, begins on July 1st and goes through July 16th in Montreux, an old town located in Vaud on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Freddy Mercury, frontman of Queen once lived and worked.

This year’s line-up includes stars like Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, and John Legend, among others.

The second music event, the Paléo Festival in Nyon, also in canton Vaud, will take place (after missing 2020 and 2021due to Covid) from July 19th to 24th, and feature world-class perfprmers like Sting, KISS, and dozen others.

Tickets to both events are usually snapped up as soon as the go on sale, but they may still be some for sale. You can check the availability here for Montreux and Paléo.

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