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WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

From changing Covid rules to the next round of referenda, this is what is happening in Switzerland in May 2022.

Here's what's set to change in May in Switzerland. Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash
Here's what's set to change in May in Switzerland. Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

May 1st: Labour Day

Like many other countries Switzerland is celebrating Labour Day on May 1st (which has nothing to do with the Labor Day in the United States, which falls on the first Monday of September).

In Switzerland, it is also known as International Workers’ Day and May Day.

As it is falling on a Sunday this year, you will not get half a day off work – although a movement has been kick started to change all that. 

READ MORE: Swiss politicians call for ‘lost’ public holidays to be replaced

May 2nd: All entry restrictions to Switzerland will be lifted

Travellers from abroad will once again be able to enter Switzerland or apply for a visa under the usual (pre-Covid) conditions.

The last entry restrictions still in force be dropped on May 2nd.

On that date, vaccine requirement for all tourists, regardless of where they come from, will fall.

READ MORE: Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from May 2nd

May 2nd: New Covid certificate enters into force

The Federal Council decided that Covid recovery certificates can be issued on the basis of a positive rapid antigen test or a laboratory-based immunological analysis.

Because of new rules in the EU, these certificates will be recognised internationally. 

They can be issued retroactively for positive test results from October 2nd, 2021. 

However, “because no similar rules existed at EU level at the time, they were only valid in Switzerland. Certificates already issued on this basis must be applied for again and re-issued for international compatibility”.  

May 9th: Consultation for extension of Covid law ends

Although no Covid measures are currently in place in Switzerland – and the few that remain for entering the country will be removed on May 2nd – the legal framework which allows the government to make Covid rules remains in place. 

Currently, the Swiss government is undergoing a consultation with the cantons, which is set to end on May 9th, about the continuation of the framework. 

Issues such as covering the costs for Covid tests and issuing Covid certificates for travel abroad will be discussed. 

While the Covid Act is currently set to expire at the end of 2022, it is expected to be extended until at least June 2024. More information is available here

May 15th: Switzerland votes

In the second of four rounds of national referendums scheduled for 2022, the Swiss will head to the polls on May 15th to decide on three issues: The Film Act, support for European border guards (Frontex), and transplant /organ donation law.

More information about issues at stake can be found here:

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

May 26th: Ascension Day

Thursday May 26th will mark the Ascension Day, a religious holiday, which is a national public holiday in Switzerland.  

While the following day, Friday the 27th, is not a public holiday — that is, stores and most other businesses operate as usual — schools and some offices remain closed until Monday.

READ MORE: When are the public holidays in Switzerland in 2022?

Spring in full swing

After a cold and miserable winter and spring, things should improve from May onwards in Switzerland. 

Although May is a notoriously temperamental month – with temperatures hitting highs of 20C degrees in Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich – the nights can still get very cold, with lows touching on 0C. 

Whatever you plan on doing in Switzerland in May, channel your inner Swiss and remember that preparation is your friend, so bring appropriate clothing for rain, cold and of course golden sunshine. 

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For members

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.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in April 2022

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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