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Covid-19 rules For Members

Reader question: Where do I still need to wear a mask in Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 5 Apr, 2022 Updated Tue 5 Apr 2022 10:54 CEST
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Depending on where you are flying to, masks may no longer be required on these two airlines. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Despite a much publicised end to mask rules on April 1st, masks are still required in some places. Here's what you need to know.

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Since shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, wearing masks in public spaces has become standard across Switzerland and much of the globe. 

Masks had been compulsory in indoor public spaces in Switzerland since October 29th, 2020 until February 17th of this year, when the mask requirement was lifted except for public transport and health establishments.

And from April 1st, masks don’t have to be worn in any publicly-accessible places.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Switzerland to scrap Covid certificate and most mask rules

This doesn’t mean, however, that faces no longer have to be covered anywhere in Switzerland, under any circumstances. In fact, masks remain compulsory in certain places, such as hospitals and transport. 

In dropping the mask-wearing obligation from April 1st, the Federal Council specified that each canton is “free to impose stricter protective measures or to exempt certain institutions from the mask requirement. Individual establishments may still stipulate that visitors must wear a mask, for example in medical practices or hairdressing salons.”

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And this is exactly what happened.

Cantons of Zurich, Basel-Country, Basel-City, Bern, Fribourg, Jura, Valais and Geneva still maintain the mask obligation in health institutions, such as hospitals and elderly care homes, for staff and visitors alike.

And you will likely find that most doctors’ practices and other medical venues where sick people tend to congregate will still have signs asking people to put on their masks.

READ MORE: Easter holidays: What to expect if you’re coming to Switzerland

What about travel?

Planes are under the ”public transportation” category as well, but they have different mask-wearing rules than local ground transportation like trains and buses.

That’s because airplanes travel internationally and have to comply with rules at their destinations.

For instance, though SWISS has been gradually lifting its mask-wearing requirement for passengers and crew members aboard its domestic flights, “facemasks will still need to be worn on flights for which this is required by the country of destination”, the airline said, adding that passengers will be advised of applicable regulations before their flight.

In what is now becoming an industry standard, the same mask policy is in place at other airlines flying to and from Switzerland, including SWISS’ sister company Edelweiss Air, and EasyJet.

The same also applies to international train travel, as well crossing the border(s) to neighbouring countries to shop; it’s best to check ahead of time what rules are in place, as they are bound to change quickly.

For example, a mask must still be worn on public transport in the neighbouring regions of Alsace, France and Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

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In Italy, high grade FFP2masks continue to be required on all types of domestic public transport (both local and long-distance); enclosed cable cars and chair lifts, including at ski resorts; and at shows, screenings, events and competitions open to the public (whether indoors or outdoors).

In all other indoor public spaces, lower grade surgical (but not cloth) masks can be used from April 1st. 

Masks should also be worn in nightclubs and discos, but can be removed when someone is dancing.

And even though you may not be impacted by this particular regulation yourself, Swiss soldiers are still to wear an FFP2 mask in all indoor spaces.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do I still need to be vaccinated to visit Switzerland?

What are The Local Switzerland’s reader questions?

As part of our service to our readers and members, we often answer questions on life in Switzerland via email when people get in touch with us. 

When these have value to the greater Local Switzerland community, we put them together as an article, with ‘reader question’ in the headline. 

All readers of The Local Switzerland can ask a reader question, i.e. you do not need to be a member. If you do find our reporting valuable however, then please consider signing up

You do not need to live in Switzerland to ask a reader question, i.e. you could be coming to Switzerland for a holiday and have a specific question. However, the questions have to be related to Switzerland in some way. 

We will only turn a question into a reader question article where it has value to the broader Local community and where we can answer it.

READ MORE: What are The Local Switzerland’s reader questions?

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/04/05 10:54

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