Switzerland Agrees Easing Some Covid-19 Measures
24th February 2021
Last modified on February 26th, 2021
They were outlined earlier this month and now Federal & Cantonal authorities have agreed the details. Restaurants and bars will remain closed, something some ski resorts oppose. The new rules come into force on March 1st.
Outdoor gatherings of 15 people will be allowed – an increase from the current 5-person limit.
Recreational facilities that take place outdoors such as ice skating will be allowed as long as they comply with hygiene restrictions.
Shops, zoos, museums and libraries will re-open.
Restaurants will remain closed until at least March 22nd, with further discussions on any re-opening taking place on March 12th.
In an apparent compromise the date to open has been moved forward from the original date of April 1st
Some ski resorts had been lobbying hard to ease the ban on indoor and outdoor eating – the restrictions have been in place since mid-December.
“We are taking a considerable – but calculated risk,” said the Interior Minister, Alain Berset, as the measures were unveiled.
“With this cautious reopening, the Federal Council is aiming to achieve a gradual normalisation of social and economic life, even though the epidemiological situation remains precarious because new, more infectious variants of the virus are circulating,” the government said in a statement.
“The initial reopening phase from March 1st essentially involves activities that allow people to wear masks and maintain social distancing, and that only involve small numbers of people or meeting outdoors.”
We reported on the draft plans earlier on PlanetSKI:
The government is also permitting young people up to the age of 20 to take part in cultural and sporting activities.
Sports competitions and concerts will be allowed for young people but without spectators or an audience.
“We understand very well that not everyone is satisfied with the gradual opening,” said the President, Guy Parmelin.
He said that the coronavirus cases are rising and “we can’t ignore the situation”.
Earlier this week the head of Switzerland tourism, Martin Nydeggar, claimed it had been a good decision to keep ski resorts open.
Not everyone agrees with him with Italy blaming Switzerland for spreading variant viruses to other countries.
The government said that when the situation permits it may ease restrictions faster.
“The difficulty from the beginning is that we don’t know how the situation is going to develop,” said the Interior Minister, Alain Berset.
He recalled last autumn, warning that “we don’t want to lose control of the situation”.
Switzerland has seen many more people in hospital and deaths this winter than in its first wave.
Some observers believe restrictions were too lax over the summer which led to the sharp rise.
Switzerland currently has 81 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.
Last week the rate was 103.
The total number of people who have died of Covid-19 in Switzerland so far is 9,256.
It has a population of 8.5m.