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Announcement by Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, Bern, Switzerland

In view of the rapidly increasing number of Coronavirus infections and deaths, the Federal Government has extended their guidelines as of today, under the following main points.

No more than five people in any gathering, all with at least 2 metres distance from each other.

This will also apply to sport and work groups, e.g. bikers, ski tourers, building sites and roadworks etc. At meetings of less than five persons, a distance of at least two metres must be maintained from other persons. Anyone who fails to observe this rule can be fined up to CHF 100 per person. 

Only persons who need to work, shop for essentials, or seek medical help should be outdoors. Dog walking and basic exercising is accepted. However it was made clear we are not yet at the stage of an imposed curfew although this may be required if the current measures do not have the desired effect. 

A total of CHF 40 billion state financial aid.

To cushion the economic consequences of the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has approved a comprehensive package of measures amounting to CHF 32 billion. With the measures already approved on 13 March, over CHF 40 billion should be available: this is around CHF 5’000 per capita, comparable to the GBP 330 billion figure announced in the UK.

Access to bank loans for companies will be simplified. Companies will be allowed to pay federal tax and VAT at a later date than usual. All debt collection procedures will be suspended until 20 April. Short-time work, which is compensated with unemployment benefit, will be simplified and can be applied to additional groups of people, and the waiting period will be shortened. There will also be support for the self-employed, as well as for those who have to stay at home for childcare.

“Help is coming!” said Guy Parmelin the Minister of Economic Affairs. As from Thursday, Swiss companies of any size will be able to go to the bank and secure an immediate CHF 500,000 loan – the federal government will guarantee 100 percent of this amount without further examination. For amounts in excess of CHF 500,000, banks will have to bear 15% of the guarantee, and even larger cases would be looked at separately. So far there was no mention of any interest rate.

Contractors, Employees and employers in Switzerland

If you are working or are an employer in Switzerland, how will the spread of the Virus affect you? You will find the answers in our Coronavirus FAQ.

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