Coronavirus Information and Traffic in Switzerland

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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Neighbouring borders

The government has re-introduced border checks with neighbouring countries. The border with Italy will remain open but further restrictions will be applied. Only Swiss citizens, people with a residence permit in Switzerland and those who have to travel to Switzerland for professional reasons – cross-border workers – are now allowed to enter the country from Italy. Transit and goods traffic are still permitted.

Germany is locking down its borders to non-essential travel. Travellers from Switzerland to Germany now have to undergo a 14-day self-isolation to ensure they don't have the virus.

As of midnight on 16 March, there is be no direct air or rail connections to Austria.
Neighbouring Austria has reintroduced border controls with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, while banning flights and rail connections from Switzerland, in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

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Closures of schools and bars

Swiss authorities closed all schools for three weeks from March 16th.
Bars and restaurants are closed in the canton of Ticino, while they remain open across the rest of the country.

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Ski resorts stopped operating

On March 13 the government closed all ski resorts across Switzerland. Tourist trains have also been cancelled.

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Flights to the States

On March 11 the United States barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries during the previous 14 days. 

The ban applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Effective March 16, the ban will apply to foreign nationals departing from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As of March 13, all American citizens and legal permanent residents who have been in high-risk areas and return to the United States are required to fly to one of the following 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts

  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan

  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York

  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California

  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington

  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

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Minimization of public gathering

The Federal Council has limited public life. Public and private events with 100 or more participants are prohibited. This applies also to recreational facilities such as museums, sports centres and swimming baths. Restaurants, bars and discotheques may admit maximum 50 persons. Moreover, those present must comply with the hygienic recommendations and they must be able to keep the proper distance.

 

 

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