The Swiss Federal Council is tightening its partial lockdown from 18th January to 28th February: compulsory working from home, restrictions on private meetings and public gatherings, shops closed. Infections are forecast to rise rapidly.
The Swiss Health Minister, Alain Berset, said the R-value is back above 1.0. Unless further measures are taken he expects the number of infections to double every one to two weeks due to presence of the same highly contagious mutations as responsible for the meteoric rise in the UK.
All shops and markets are to be closed except those selling essential provisions for daily use. Pre-ordered goods may also be collected on site. The current restriction for essential shops, petrol stations and kiosks to be closed after 7 p.m. and on Sundays is to be lifted.
Meetings with a maximum of 5 people
A maximum of five people are allowed to participate in private events or in public spaces. Children are also counted towards this number.
Home office is compulsory
Employers are to arrange home office wherever this is possible and can be “reasonably” implemented. The employer does not need to cover any reimbursement of expenses, for example for electricity or rental costs.
Protection of people at high risk
People at particular risk have the right to work from home, have equivalent protection at work or a leave of absence. In professions in which the protective provisions cannot be implemented, the employer must release the employees concerned from their work and pay 100% wages. In these cases, there is a right to Corona income compensation.
Further measures at the workplace
Where home office is not possible further measures are required at the workplace: To protect employees indoors, a mask is required wherever more than one person is in a room.
Note: it is possible to be excused from wearing a mask: this requires a medical certificate from a doctor or a psychotherapist to establish the medical grounds.
What has not been imposed to date
Unlike some countries, the lockdown in Switzerland is only partial. Many services are still operating, Ski regions remain open under cantonal control and people are not being forced to stay at home in general: they can move around and exercise freely. Outdoor individual sports are not considered to be comparable to indoor activities in terms of contagiousness, and are highly valued for psychological and physical wellbeing.
For up to date details of employment rules for employers and employees in Switzerland please see our Coronavirus FAQ.
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