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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
The Swiss want their mountain traditions to be inscribed on Unesco's list. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP

It’s “back to normal” time in Switzerland

No, this is not an April Fools joke: starting today, all Covid-related rules are dropped.

Measures that remained in place after the initial easing on February 17th, including the obligation to wear masks on public transport and in healthcare establishments, as well to isolate after testing positive, are now scrapped.

The spring and summer will be “rule-free” (at least in regards to Covid), but only time will tell for how long.

READ MORE:Switzerland to remove all Covid measures on Friday

Jobs are rebounding in the hotel and restaurant sector

The number of jobs in the two industries that were most impacted by repeated closures during the pandemic has risen significantly in a span of one year.

The hiring of personnel for the the hotel and restaurant industry went up by nearly 140 percent between March 2021 and March 2022, according to a new study by Michael Page recruitment agency.

In all sectors combined, job offers have increased by 40.1 percent over the past 12 months.

Recruitment has been particularly strong for environment and ecology jobs (+69.7 percent), and in IT security (+68.1 percent).

All parts of Switzerland are seeing positive growth in advertised job vacancies, with demand the highest in eastern part of the country as well as in the Lake Geneva region.

Initiative launched in Geneva to extend the right to vote to foreigners

A group of left-wing organisations and trade unions have launched a constitutional initiative which aims to extend the political rights of foreigners at a cantonal level. 

The initiative, which was launched on Thursday, is called “A life here, a voice here… Let us strengthen our democracy”. They have until early August to collect the necessary 8,157 signatures.

About 40 percent of Geneva’s population is made up of foreign nationals, the highest proportion in Switzerland. While they have a right to vote on municipal issues, they have no political rights at the cantonal level.

Currently, only Neuchâtel and Jura grant the right to vote to foreigners on cantonal issues.

Switzerland wants this tradition to become part of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage

On March 31st, Switzerland submitted a request to include the alpine pasture season on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A  tradition of Swiss mountain areas, this practice of leading cattle to high pastures has been practiced throughout the country since at least the Middle Ages.

It includes the management of pastures, cheese production, artisanal manufacture of foods and objects, as well as other regional customs and rituals still practiced in the mountains.

Though old, these traditions have been constantly adapted to local climatic, social and economic conditions.

The decision about whether to include the alpine pasture season on the United Nations’ cultural heritage list will be made in 2023. In the meantime, the list already includes 13 Swiss sites, such as the Old City of Bern, the Jungfrau-Aletsch glacier, and terraced vineyards in Vaud’s Lavaux region, among others.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members


Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]