The Federal Council of Switzerland has announced that measures in place to contain COVID-19 have been eased. from Saturday 26 June 2021. The rules are quite specific, as the following summary shows:
- Requirement to work from home is downgraded to a recommendation.
- The general requirement to wear masks in the workplace is lifted.
- Employers still have a duty to ensure that staff are protected, but are free to decide where and when masks should be worn.
- There is no limit to the number of people allowed to sit together at a table.
- Guests must still remain seated indoors and the distance between guest groups must still be respected.
- Contact details must still be recorded, but only for one person per group.
- Masks must still be worn, apart from when seated.
- The limit on the size of guest groups outdoors is to be lifted and guests will no longer have to be seated. The distance between guest groups must still be respected. Contact details no longer need to be recorded for guests outdoors.
Shops, Leisure and Sporting Facilities
- Will be able to make full use of their available capacity.
- Water parks may also reopen. However, a restriction of two-thirds’ capacity will apply to events and venues where no COVID-19 certificate is required.
Clubs and Discos
- Are allowed to open provided access is limited to people with a valid COVID-19 immunity certificate.
- The proposals to limit attendance to 250 people and requiring the recording of contact details have been dropped.
- As at all venues where COVID-19 immunity certificates are required, there is no requirement to wear masks.
- No restrictions on the capacity or the number of people attending events and no requirement to wear masks at large-scale events with a COVID-19 immunity certificate.
- No requirement to wear masks or keep a distance during cultural and sporting activities for both professionals and amateurs.
- No restrictions on face-to-face teaching at higher education and continuing education institutions.
- Masks need not be worn in schools at upper secondary level, however schools may impose rules at their discretion.
- No requirement to wear masks in outdoor areas at publicly accessible venues, leisure facilities and restaurant terraces.
- On public transport, outdoor spaces are defined as any areas with large openings on at least two sides, such as railway platforms (including those underground), bus stops, underpasses and overpasses, or halls and shopping arcades.
- Indoor spaces are enclosed underground station complexes (such as the underground area at a main station) including the underground access and shopping areas in basements and indoor waiting rooms.
- The recommendations issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) remain in place: masks should be worn where it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5m.
- Masks must still be worn indoors as it is not possible to check whether or not someone has been vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19.
- Requirement to wear masks at work and in upper secondary level schools lifted
- The cantons will again assume responsibility for setting rules covering baccalaureate, specialised and vocational schools.
- The requirement to work from home will now become a recommendation, and the requirement to conduct regular workplace testing is to be lifted.
- No restrictions on face-to-face teaching.
- Restrictions on class sizes for face-to-face teaching at professional education, continuing education and higher education institutions will be lifted, and there will be no requirement to conduct regular testing.
Events with a COVID-19 Immunity certificate: no masks, no restrictions
- There will be no restrictions on events at which access is limited to people with a COVID-19 certificate, including large-scale events.
- Events for over 10,000 people may go ahead from 26 June and the venue’s full capacity may be used.
- The protection plan must however set out how access is to be limited to people with a COVID-19 certificate.
- Cantonal authorisation is required for events for over 1’000 people.
Events without a COVID-19 certificate requirement
- The rule for events without a COVID-19 certificate requirement are as follows:
- If the public are seated, up to 1’000 people may attend – indoors or outdoors
- If people are standing or moving around, up to 250 people may attend indoors, and up to 500 outdoors
- Up to two-thirds of the venue’s capacity may be used – indoors or outdoors
- Indoors: masks must be worn in areas where food and drink are served, and food and drink may only be consumed in the designated areas; contact details must be recorded if seated
- Outdoors: no requirement to wear masks
- Events and concerts involving dancing are not allowed
Private Events: 30 people indoors, 50 outdoors
- The limits regarding private events continue to apply, i.e. no more than 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
Trade Fairs: no capacity restrictions
- The ban on trade fairs for fewer than 1’000 people indoors is to be lifted.
- Capacity restrictions for trade fairs will also be lifted regardless of the number of visitors or the restriction to people with a COVID-19 certificate.
- At trade fairs without a COVID-19 certificate requirement, masks must be worn indoors and food and drink may only be consumed in the designated areas.
Sporting and cultural activities: no masks required
- There are to be no restrictions for people carrying out sporting or cultural activities outdoors.
- However, contact details must be recorded for indoor activities.
- Requirements to wear masks and keep a distance will be lifted, as will capacity restrictions.
Duration of vaccine effectiveness to be extended to 12 months
- The duration of vaccine effectiveness for mRNA vaccines approved for use in Switzerland for those fully vaccinated to 12 months.
- People who have been vaccinated are therefore now exempt from contact and travel quarantine for a period of 12 months.
- In line with the requirements for the EU Digital COVID Certificate, people who have recovered from COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine for a period of 6 months.
- The validity of rapid antigen tests is also being extended from 24 to 48 hours.
Self-tests also available at drugstores and in shops
- Approved self-tests may now also be sold at drugstores and in shops.
- The packs of five self-tests per person per month funded by the Confederation will continue to be available in pharmacies, but only for people who have not been vaccinated or who have not had COVID-19.
- Provision will be made in the COVID-19 Ordinance 3 for the reimbursement of the cost of tests taken prior to camps and on access to events.
Restrictions on entering Switzerland to be relaxed
- Persons entering from the Schengen area are no longer be required to quarantine.
- The requirement to be tested now applies only to those arriving by plane who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19.
- Contact details will still be required when arriving by plane.
- Switzerland has eased the existing entry restrictions for persons arriving from third countries who can prove they have been vaccinated.
- The list of countries issued by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has been amended accordingly. It is now once again possible for third-country citizens travelling from countries such as the USA, Albania or Serbia to enter Switzerland.
Entry from a country with a variant of the virus of concern
- The current list of high-risk countries now only contains countries or regions where virus variants of concern to Switzerland are in circulation.
- Persons who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from the disease will be permitted to enter Switzerland from these countries or regions without having to be tested or to quarantine as long as it is certain that their vaccination offers good protection.
- Those who have neither been vaccinated nor have recovered must present a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test and go into quarantine on entry.
- In practice, this means that persons who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 do not have to produce a negative test even when travelling from countries where the Delta variant is widespread (such as India or the United Kingdom) and do not have to quarantine on entry.
International compatibility of Swiss COVID certificate
- As a Schengen extension, the Federal Council also took steps to adopt two EU regulations on the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
- The process to have the Swiss certificate recognised by the EU has been launched. During the six-week transition phase commencing 1 July, it is likely that other forms of proof will also be accepted in the EU/EFTA area.
- It is therefore important to check the specific entry requirements prior to travel.