Coronavirus Information and Traffic in Switzerland

Travelling from/to Switzerland

From 4 July, Switzerland is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. People arriving in Switzerland from certain countries and areas are still required to go into quarantine.  The list of these countries and areas was updated on 8 August 2020. A negative test result does not exempt you from the mandatory quarantine requirement. 

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Information for travellers

You can find detailed information about entering and leaving Switzerland to see COVID-19 restrictions. Click on the page of Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

List of countries and areas with increased risk of infection can be seen below.
If you travel to Switzerland and you were in one of these countries or areas in the last 14 days, you must be in quarantine for 10 days.

Argentina
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Belarus
Bolivia
Brasil
Cape Verde
Chile
Dominican Republic
Irak
Israel
Katar
Columba
Kosovo
Kuwait
Moldova
North Macedonia
Oman
Panama
Peru
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Sweden
Serbia
South Africa
Turks and Caicos Islands
USA

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Ending restrictions

The Swiss government has now ended its “extraordinary situation” in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), but some measures remain in place.

  • All contact with other individuals should be at a distance of at least 1.5 metres.
  • Wearing face masks is strongly recommended when travelling on public transport, if it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other travellers. Wearing face masks is compulsory when attending demonstrations.
  • All shops, restaurants, markets, museums and libraries are now able to reopen with social distancing measures in place. Restaurants are able to accommodate groups of more than four people. Events of up to 1000 people are permitted.

The public are encouraged to stay at home and employers urged to allow staff to work from home.

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Next steps from 8 June

Expected to open or be permitted (pending Federal Council decision on 27 May)

  • Upper secondary schools, higher education and other educational institutions
  • Theatres and cinemas
  • Zoos, botanical gardens, animal parks, mountain transport services
  • Swimming pools (open to the public)
  • Religious services
  • Gatherings of more than 5 people

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Flights and trains to UK

Flights to London are available from Zurich and Geneva. Flights will be reinstated to Manchester from 1 June and Dublin from 5 June.

SWISS, easyJet and Aer Lingus are operating commercial flights to the UK. KLM is operating flights via Amsterdam.

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Opening borders

Switzerland plans to open all borders with Germany, Austria and France on 15 June 2020, if the epidemiological situation allows. The ministers agreed in bilateral discussions to open all borders between their respective countries as quickly as possible and to allow people the freedom to travel again. Provided the pandemic situation in the countries allows, this move should take effect on 15 June.

If you are travelling to Switzerland, you must observe the applicable hygiene and social distancing rules. On arrival, please pay attention to the instructions posted at border crossings, railway stations and airports. There is no quarantine requirement for travellers entering Switzerland who are free of symptoms of illness.

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Reopening from 11 May

Various types of activity are now permitted on condition that precautionary measures are adhered to. Continue to follow hygiene and social distancing rules.

Despite the fact that measures are gradually being eased, we recommend that you carry on working from home if you are able to do so. That way you are reducing your interaction with others and preventing the spread of the virus.

From 11 May » open or permitted:

  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Classroom teaching of up to 5 students (upper secondary schools, higher education and other educational institutions) (driving school, language schools)
  • Exams at educational institutions
  • Shops and markets
  • Travel agencies
  • Museums, libraries, archives (excl. reading rooms)
  • Sports activities not involving physical contact by individuals and in groups of up to 5 people (recreational sport), incl. use of sports facilities
  • Training sessions for competitive athletes who are members of a national squad, or who train as individuals or in groups of up to 5 people, or as part of a regular competitive team (competitive and top level sport). Appropriate precautionary measures are in place.
  • Training involving physical contact by team members, playing in a predominantly professional league (competitive and top level sport). These must follow strict hygiene rules as part of a set of precautionary measures.
  • Visits to restaurants, bars and pubs under the following conditions: 
    • individual groups of guests consist of no more than 4 people or families with children
    • customers are seated to consume food and beverages
    • a set of precautionary measures is in place and can be adhered to.

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Relaxing of mesures

The Government has announced a phased relaxing of some measures. From 27 April, hospitals and medical practitioners (including dentists) will be able to carry out non-urgent procedures. And a range of businesses including DIY stores and hairdressers can reopen.

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How to ease restrictions

As curves are flattening, countries around Europe are moving towards ending restrictions step by step. Federal Council announced a three-step plan to gradually lift the restrictions put into place on March 16th.

As of April 27th, when the de-confinement will begin, hairdressers, massage therapists, and beauty salons will be among the first to re-open, along with garden centres, hardware stores, and florists. Non-emergency medical procedures, which had been restricted since mid-March, will also be authorised from that date on.

Two weeks later, on May 11th , classes in obligatory schools will resume. All other shops will re-open as well.

Then, on June 8th, secondary and vocational schools, as well as universities, will start; entertainment and leisure facilities like museums, libraries, botanical gardens, and zoos are expected to re-open too.

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Government mesures extended

Emergency Swiss measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by a week to April 26, but could be eased before May, President Simonetta Sommaruga announced Wednesday.

After ordering the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and shops other than food stores and pharmacies, the Swiss government on March 21 banned gatherings of more than five people.
These measures "are extended until April 26", and "the first relaxations should be able to occur before the end of April," Sommaruga told a press conference in Bern.

The government has instructed the health and economy ministries to come up with plans for "how this easing can be done, step by step", the president said. The plans are to be unveiled on April 16.

The Federal Council’s highest priority is to protect the public. It is important that we all continue to follow the recommendations and stay at home – even at Easter and even if the weather is fine. That way we can continue to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

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Cancelled or postponed events

  • Esxence – The Scent of Excellence: Next event will be held from February 11th to 14th 2021
  • Sechseläuten - Spring Festival in Zurich: cancelled
  • Baselworld: New dates from January 28- Feb 2
  • Spring Wine Fair: cancelled.
  • FOOD ZURICH: The festival is postponed to October 2020, new date from Oct 22 to Nov 1
  • Ice Hockey World Championship: cancelled
  • Zurich Art Weekend: postponed to September 11-13 
  • Art Basel: postponed to September 17-20 2020

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Border crossings

Entry in to Switzerland from all countries except Liechtenstein is only possible for Swiss citizens, Liechtenstein citizens, holders of Swiss resident permits, cross-border workers, those transiting with an onward ticket within the same day (not overnight) and those with “compelling reasons”. Goods traffic is also still permitted. Secondary customs posts are closed at all borders so that traffic can be channelled through the main border crossings.

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Extraordinary mesures

The Swiss Government have implemented “extraordinary measures” in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. All shops, restaurants, bars, leisure and entertainment facilities will be closed until at least 19 April 2020 with exemptions for essential outlets such as grocery stores, pharmacies, health facilities and public transport. The public are strongly advised to stay at home and employers urged to allow staff to work from home.

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Flight info

Flights to Switzerland are subject to controls and inspections. Entry in to Switzerland via flights from the UK, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and all non-Schengen countries will now only be possible for Swiss citizens, residents, cross-border workers, those transiting with an onward ticket within the same day (not overnight) and those with “compelling reasons”. Flights from Schengen countries, apart from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, remain unaffected.

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Updates of border crossing

As of midnight on Wednesday March 18the, the Swiss federal government closed more border crossings with Italy in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The newly closed border crossings between Ticino and Italy are Arogno, Brusino, Pizzamiglio, Camedo and Fornasette.

On March 11th, the Swiss government already closed nine entry points between Ticino and Italy to limit the traffic from the country that is at the forefront of the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, the Federal Council is not closing the border completely. Open points include Chiasso strada (Ponte Chiasso), Novazzano Brusata (Bizzarone), Chiasso strada, Stabio Gaggiolo, and Dirinella (Zenna).
These crossings remain open as Ticino’s economy relies heavily on  67,800 Italian employees who make up more than a quarter of the total workforce in the canton.

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Borders of Switzerland

Border crossings between Switzerland and Austria, France, Germany, France and Italy are subject to controls and inspections. Entry into Switzerland will now only be possible for Swiss citizens, residents, cross-border workers, those transiting and those with “compelling reasons” also being allowed entry. Goods traffic is also still permitted. Secondary customs posts are closed at all borders so that traffic can be channelled through the main border crossings.

 

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Geneva's border

With stricter controls now taking place at Geneva’s border with France, and only limited crossings remaining open, there are long queues at the canton’s entry points.
As thousands of French workers are employed in Geneva’s healthcare sector, authorities wanted to make sure they could get into the canton without waiting in lines.

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Change in education

Classroom teaching is banned at schools, universities and other training and educational institutions. The ban will apply until 19 April 2020.The cantons are required to ensure that childcare is provided for children who cannot be looked after privately. People at especially high risk may not be involved in such arrangements.

 

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Prepare for your travel

If your travel is essential

  • contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers to make sure you can still travel
  • read the details of your travel insurance carefully, and check that you are covered, and contact your insurer if you are uncertain. You may need to consider a specialist policy
  • make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Take more than one means of payment with you
  • be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system
  • make sure you have enough medication with you in case you are abroad longer than planned
  • be prepared for logistical and financial disruption to your travel
  • arrange extra support for family members, dependants or pets who may need care if you are abroad longer than planned
  • check travel advice for your destination regularly and sign-up to email alerts

 

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New measures upon closure

The government banned all private and public events starting at midnight on March 17 and also ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, sports facilities and cultural spaces. This applies to establishments providing personal services involving physical contact, such as hairdressers, massage parlours, tattoo and cosmetic studios. Only businesses providing essential goods to the population – such as grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, banks and post offices – are to remain open.
In certain situations, cantons may allow exceptions to this ban on a limited basis. For such exceptions to be granted there has to be an overriding public interest (e.g. educational establishments, and in the event of supply problems), and comprehensive protective measures must be adhered to.

This arrangement applies until 19. April 2020.

 

 

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