For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in June 2022

Public transport will no longer be free for Ukrainians, Covid boosters could be on the way and will Migros start selling alcohol after being dry for more than a century? Here are the big changes forecast for this month in Switzerland.

What will change in Switzerland in June 2022? Photo by Ahmad Ossayli on Unsplash
What will change in Switzerland in June 2022? Photo by Ahmad Ossayli on Unsplash

June 1st: New anti-terrorism measures enter into force

The new law, accepted in a referendum on June 13th, 2021, extends police powers to combat terrorism.

Law enforcement agencies will be able to use preventive methods against terrorism, such as electronic surveillance or house arrest.

Nearly 57 percent of Swiss voters heeded the Federal Council’s calls for a stronger protection against terrorism, even though it drew criticism from human rights groups like United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Amnesty International.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s new ‘Guantanamo-style’ terrorism law draws international criticism

June 1st: No more free rides for Ukrainian refugees

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge 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).

Some cantons could offer alternative, though not as far-reaching solutions. Vaud, for instance, is providing limited-range tickets valid for travel from the refugee’s commune of residence to the nearest hospital, school, or refugee support centre.

Could we finally see beer, wine and spirits on the shelves of Migros? 

Swiss supermarket Migros has not sold alcohol since its founding more than 100 years ago, but that could be set to change this month. 

Currently, the delegates which run Migros stores are voting on whether to change this policy. The decision will be announced in mid-June, with alcoholic beverages appearing on Migros shelves as early as July 1st. 

As we reported previously, the situation will be up to the regional delegations, of which there are ten. 

Each delegation will decide whether its stores will allow the sale of alcohol, which could mean some Migros sell booze while others do not. 

Although the change may seem seismic, as we’ve written before, the supermarket has in fact sold alcohol through a variety of loopholes previously. 

EXPLAINED: The real reason Swiss supermarket Migros doesn’t sell alcohol

June 6th: Whit Monday

Whit Monday, a religious observance also called Pentcoast, is national holiday except in cantons Neuchâtel, Soloturn, Valais, and Zug.

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

June 10th: Possible new rules for Covid boosters

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

Until now, all the Covid vaccinations had been free of charge.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st. If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.

June 21st: First day of summer

This day marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

While we can’t say what the weather will be like on this particular day, we can expect the season to be “hotter than usual,” according to Thomas Buchel, head of SRF Meteo.

“New heat records are very likely”, he said, adding that temperatures “could hit 40 degrees”.

While many people in Switzerland are looking forward to a hot summer, the reason for the heatwave gives no reason for joy: meteorologists say it is “is a direct consequence of climate change”. 

READ MORE: Weather: Switzerland prepares for ‘record-breaking’ hot summer

June 30th: Telework agreements between Switzerland and neighbour nations end

Once the Covid-related health measures, including home office requirement, were lifted in Switzerland between February 17th on April 1st, the future of home working agreements n relation to taxes for cross-border workers became uncertain.

However, the Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS) has extended existing conditions until June 30th .

“With regard to Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Liechtenstein, a flexible application of the coverage rules has been agreed until June 30, 2022”, OFAS said.

The ordinary coverage rules will fully apply again from July 1st, 2022″, it said, adding that “discussions are taking place at European level on a possible evolution of the legal framework, but a short or medium term outcome is not likely”.

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For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in August 2022

From ban on fireworks and new Covid testing rules, to uncertain weather: this is what August will look like in Switzerland.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in August 2022

Swiss National Day

The entire country will come together to celebrate Swiss National Day on August 1st, marking 731 years since Switzerland as we know it was created. 

READ MORE: Why Switzerland celebrates its National Day on August 1st

The August 1st date marks an important and defining moment in Switzerland’s history: the date in 1291 when cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden pledged autonomy from foreign powers — the promise that has been holding true ever since.

However, things may look a little different – particularly at night. 

While August 1st is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and bonfires – for reasons we go into here – the night sky will be a little duller in much of the country in 2022. 

Due to continued heatwave and drought, cantons and municipalities across the country have banned fireworks displays and bonfires. 

As at July 26th, the cantons of Graubünden, Ticino, Thurgau, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Uri, Glarus, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, and Fribourg have banned their fireworks displays. 

Certain Zurich municipalities have prohibited this practice as well, while further cantons have indicated they may also prohibit fireworks should they be unsafe. 

READ MORE: Why most of the country will celebrate without fireworks this Swiss National Day

Medical marijuana approved in Switzerland

As of August 1st, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is allowed in Switzerland

Patients who are medically prescribed the drug will no longer need to seek exceptional permission from the health ministry, as was the case prior to August 1st. 

Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply, with the health ministry issuing 3,000 exceptional authorisations in 2019.

But this involved “tedious administrative procedures”, said the ministry. “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

As of August 1st, “the decision as to whether a cannabis medicinal product is to be used therapeutically will be made by the doctor together with the patient” the government wrote

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift ban on medical use cannabis

Travel chaos in Europe

Summer months are set to be chaotic in travelling, and we have seen examples of airports congested throughout Europe. This will continue during August, as airlines across Europe have now cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 1000s flights in August

As The Local reported in mid-July, Switzerland has not been spared the flight crisis sweeping the world. 

The situation is particularly bad at Zurich Airport, which is Switzerland’s largest. 

Zurich Airport saw an increase of almost 250 percent compared to last year, while passenger levels are fast approaching the highs set before the pandemic. 

So far in summer, this has led to around half of all flights being delayed, while one in 50 has been cancelled and around 250 items of luggage have been lost daily. 

Reader question: How bad is the situation at Zurich Airport?

New rules for Covid testing in Zurich

Starting on August 1st, new criteria will apply to testing centres and pharmacies in the canton of Zurich.

From this date, nasal swabs for rapid antigen and PCR tests can only be carried out by personnel with basic medical training, including medical students and pharmacy assistants.

Prior to August 1st, other people were also authorised to perform these tests after receiving appropriate training.


The Federal Council returns to work

After several weeks of absence for summer holidays, the Federal Council will be back at work on August 17th.

Among topics on its agenda will be decisions regarding second Covid boosters, such as the date when the shots will be available to the general population.

Cabinet members will also discuss whether Switzerland should adapt new sanctions against Russia, notably targeting gold deliveries to Switzerland, which are reportedly on-going.

Photo by Pixabay

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland importing Russian gold?

Students head back to school

Public school start dates vary from canton to canton — the earliest, in Aargau, is on August 5th, while the latest, in Ticino, on August 26th.

In most cantons, classes begin between the mid and third week of the month.

The jet stream brings us more heatwaves

The number of extreme heatwaves in Europe is increasing much faster than in other regions. Experts suspect a change in air circulation in the atmosphere is responsible.

Although it’s hard to predict the weather in advance or to know whether the intense heat will continue, in general August tends to bring with it the last warm days before the autumn chill  kicks in.

The average “normal” daytime temperatures in Switzerland in August are slow to mid-20s, but there is nothing “normal” about the weather this summer, so it is difficult to know what lies ahead.

But even if temperatures stabilise in August, it will likely be too late to reverse the damage suffered by Swiss glaciers: aside from melting of the ice and snow, the heatwave has shifted the freezing point for Alpine peaks upwards from 4,000 -plus metres to the altitude of  above 5,100-metres.

READ MORE: Heatwave smashes Swiss Alps temperature record