4. Restrictions & closures: events, shops, building sites, hospitals, EMS, EPH, administrations

Recent measures implemented by each canton aimed to prevent or delay the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Switzerland, to reduce the frequency of infection, to interrupt the chains of infection and avoid or stem local outbreaks, as well as to protect the more vulnerable groups of population, including all persons who might be exposed to a higher risk of complications.

Despite these measures, the disease continues to spread. This is why both federal and cantonal authorities have taken additional measures to delay the increase in infections, to protect the most vulnerable people, and to avoid overcharging the health system.

Federal measures valid for the whole of Switzerland until 19 April 2020

The federal restrictions running from 17 March 2020 until 19 April 2020 (ordinance) lead in particular to the following prohibitions and closures:

Public or private events

Public or private events, including sporting events and associative activities, are prohibited.


Shops and markets

Shops and markets must be closed.

With the exception of :

  • Food shops and other stores, pharmacies, drugstores and shops selling medical aids (e.g. glasses, hearing aids).
  • Shops selling food or everyday consumer goods (e.g. kiosks, petrol station shops).
  • Post offices and agencies, banks, telecommunication operators' sales outlets.
  • Petrol stations, repair shops for various transport means, railway stations and other public transport facilities.
  • Public administration and social services.
  • Hospitals, clinics, medical and dental practices, as well as practices and establishments run by health professionals as per the federal or cantonal law (e.g. physiotherapists, osteopaths), who must, however, postpone all non-urgent treatments and interventions.
  • Hotels


Bars, discos, nightclubs and erotic lounges

Bars, discos, nightclubs and erotic lounges are all closed, without exception.



Restaurants are closed.

With the exception of :

  • Snacks and take-away services
  • Company canteens
  • Meals at home delivery services
  • Catering services for hotel guests


Places of entertainment and leisure

Places of entertainment and leisure are all closed without exception, (e.g. cinemas, museums, libraries, botanical gardens, theatres, swimming pools and sports centres).


Hairdressing salons, massage, tattooing or beauty parlours

Providing personal services such as hairdressing salons, massage, tattooing or beauty parlours is banned.


Establishments and events that are exceptions to the closure or ban must take all measures to comply with hygiene and social distancing safety regulations (limiting the number of people present and preventing clusters of people).

Additional measures in force in the Canton of Geneva until 19 April 2020

In addition to the measures taken by the Confederation, the Geneva State Council confirmed, by two new decrees of 18 March and a new decree of 20 March 2020, the additional restrictions that are in force for the whole canton of Geneva until 19 April 2020. These restrictions concern :


Reminder of the ban on events or gatherings of more than 5 people.
The State Council reminds the population about its ruling of 16 March 2020, which is in line with the federal restrictions taken since then, to ban public or private events or gatherings of more than five people throughout the canton of Geneva.


Interruption of construction sites in Geneva

The State Council has decided to close all construction sites in activity throughout the canton. Companies must take necessary measures now to ensure that all construction sites are closed by noon on Friday 20 March at the latest.  In the meantime, the companies are required to comply strictly with the FOPH guidelines.

In specific situations and in cases of overriding public interest, derogations may be granted by a tripartite body, which will be chaired by State Councillor Serge Dal Busco (DI) and will include representatives of the social partners.

Prohibition of visits to hospitals, EMS and institutions for disabled persons

The State Council has decided to prohibit all visits to all public and private medical establishments as well as to socio-medical establishments for the elderly (EMS) and establishments for the disabled (EPH). This measure is designed to protect hospitalized persons or persons living in these institutions as well as the staff, who work every day in close contact with the vulnerable persons in their care. The State Council relies on a high sense of individual and collective responsability to comply imperatively and scrupulously with this urgent measure. Family members and friends of the persons concerned with this measure are henceforth invited to keep in contact through other means (telephone, Skype etc.).

The above-mentionned establishments are empowered to grant derogations in specific individual situations (e.g. end of life).

The State Council has decided to set up a task force of the Labour Market Surveillance Board

Due to the high impact of these measures stemming from the COVID-19 crisis in the field of employment and the protection of workers, a task force composed of a delegation from the Labour Market Surveillance Board, will be meeting at regular intervals in the presence of State Councillors, Mauro Poggia (DSES) and Pierre Maudet (DDE), in order to address the various issues raised.


Duty to protect employees and not to request medical certificate before the 10th day of absence
Companies authorised to continue their activities must guarantee the protection of their employees and strict compliance with hygiene and social distancing safety standards. Compliance with these standards will be checked upon by the health authorities, who may, if necessary, delegate this task to the police. Employees will not be asked to provide a medical certificate before the 10th day of absence.
Terms and access limitations to businesses still authorised to open 
Customers must strictly comply with the rules of hygiene and social distancing safety as well as the instructions given by the shops where they go shopping.  Under specific circumstances, the cantonal doctor may impose additional measures such as limiting the number of customers shopping at the same time, or dedicating certain time slots to vulnerable persons.
Possibility of home repairs activities for businesses that must otherwise remain closed

Businesses whose activity is currently prohibited may nevertheless be able to carry out repairs including in private homes, in case of urgency or essential needs (e.g. repair of medical equipment, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.).

Closure of administrative counters, reduced activities for the communal authorities

As far as the public sector is concerned, the service counters of the administration will be closed, except in order to guarantee essential services to the population. The municipal councils will no longer meet and the executive power will have to take decisions using telecommunication means (e-mail, conference calls).

Breaches of the law may lead to fines

Any breach of the measures listed in the decree of the State Council shall be sanctioned by a fine.


These regulation matters concern the closure of your business and you have questions? 

Contact : e-mail



The federal and cantonal authorities are aware of the intensity of the current measures and their potential consequences. However, they believe that only a strong response will protect the population and stem the spread of the epidemic.

In addition to the above listed measures, on 16 March 2020, the State Council adopted a decree with regards to the implementation of the State Continuity Plan, defining all priority services. According to this continuity plan, staff members of the cantonal administration who do not provide a priority service, must no longer travel to their place of work and must, wherever possible, carry out their work from home.

Avez-vous un commentaire sur cette page?