COVID-19 - Restrictions, closures and other measures

1. Overview

1) Federal Ordinance (amendments - status as of 26th June 2021)

At its session of 23rd June 2021, the Federal Council decided to take a further step by allowing further easings of restrictions. As part of these amendments, it also allows for the first time the use of the COVID-19 certificate for vaccinated, cured and negative tested persons.

New COVID-19 Ordinance (Ordonnance COVID-19 situation particulière) Available in French, German and Italian

As of Saturday 26th June, with certain restrictions, the new allowances are primarily the following:

  • The number of people per table in restaurants is no longer limited.
  • Teleworking is now only a recommendation.
  • The wearing of masks outside and at the workplace is no longer mandatory.
  • For sports and cultural activities, the obligation to wear a mask and to respect distances is removed. There is no longer any difference between amateurs and professionals.
  • In universities, technical colleges and further education institutions, there are no longer any restrictions with regard to face-to-face teaching. Measures for compulsory school and upper secondary level are under the responsibility of cantons.
  • Limits for participants in major events (more than 1,000 people) with a COVID-19 certificate are lifted and the wearing of masks is no longer mandatory. A cantonal authorisation must be requested.
  • Discotheques and dance halls may open to holders of a valid COVID-19 certificate.

 

2) Cantonal decree (amendment of 25th June 2021)

On 25th June 2021, the State Council adapted its implementing decree on COVID measures.

Considering that the sanitary restrictions resulting from federal law were adequately specified and adapted, it decided to delete the cantonal specifications and particularities.

 

2. Establishments, shops, services and activities

Discotheques and nightclubs
Discotheques and dance halls may open their doors to holders of a valid COVID-19 certificate and masks are not required. They are still obliged to draw up and implement a protection plan which includes hygiene measures and the application of admission restrictions.
 
Bars and restaurants
Facilities and establishments offering food and beverages for consumption are open under the following main conditions:

  • Outside, customers may eat and drink standing up and move around without masks; contact details need not be collected and there is no limit to the number of people per table, but groups of customers must be separated from each other at a distance of 1.5m or by effective partitions;  
  • Indoors, customers may only consume while seated, they must wear a face mask when they are not seated at their table; management is required to collect details of one customer per table, the distance between groups must be  of 1.5m or effective partitions must be set up;
  • If - for persons over 16 - access is limited to those holding a COVID certificate, none of the above restrictions apply.
Company canteens may only serve employees, who must eat while seated, with a minimum distance of 1.5m between each person.

 
Shops, markets and service businesses 
All shops, service businesses and markets may be open without capacity restrictions. In indoor areas, masks must still be worn. Operators are still obliged to draw up and implement a protection plan which includes hygiene and distance measures.

 

3. Events (including large ones), public functions and fairs

1) Public events (up to 1'000 people)

Events where access is possible without a COVID-19 certificate
  • The limit is up to 1'000 persons if visitors have a seat.
  • The limit is up to 250 persons indoors and 500 outdoors if visitors are standing or can move around freely.
  • The limit does not include staff and facilities may only be filled to two-thirds of their capacity.

The organisation of events, where visitors dance, is prohibited.

Indoors, masks must be worn, distances must be kept if possible, and drinking is only allowed in restaurants or while being seated, provided that contact details are collected.
 

Events where access is restricted to holders of a COVID-19 certificate

There are no restrictions other than :

  • Drawing up and implementing a protection plan that includes measures concerning hygiene and the enforcement of access restrictions
  • Requesting a sanitary authorisation from the cantonal doctor's office for events with more than 1'000 people (see below).
     

2) Large events (over 1'000 people) 

Access to large events is only permitted on presentation of a COVID certificate. They are therefore not subject to any restrictions other than :

  • Drawing up and implementing a protection plan that includes measures concerning hygiene and the implementation of access restrictions;
  • Applying for a sanitary authorisation from the cantonal medical office.

The organiser of specialised trade fairs (e.g. professional salons) and general public fairs (e.g. car shows) must draw up and implement a protection plan:

  • Events that restrict access - for persons aged 16 years and above - to holders of a COVID certificate are not subject to any restrictions other than the protection plan, which includes measures concerning hygiene and the implementation of access restrictions. For those that do not require the presentation of a COVID certificate, masks are compulsory inside and drinking and eating is only possible in the areas designated for consumption.
  • Those that bring together more than 1,000 visitors or participants per day must also obtain a sanitary authorisation from the cantonal medical office.
Sanitary authorisation

When applying for a sanitary authorisation, the organiser must also submit a specific protection plan which provides for the protective measures specified in Art. 10 of Ordinance COVID-19 Special Situation, (French) based on an risk assessment of the event and he/she must plan all necessary measures. Protective measures are detailed in Appendix 1 of Ordinance COVID-19 Special Situation. 

This application must be submitted at least two weeks before the event. To do this, it is necessary to :

  1. Complete the authorisation form;
  2. Send the specific protection plan to autorisation1000@etat.ge.ch with the completed Excel file.

The cantonal doctor's office will send a decision to approve or refuse the event as soon as possible after analysing the file.

The department in charge of health, on the advice of the cantonal doctor's office, may revoke an authorisation or issue additional restrictions if the epidemiological situation deteriorates to the extent that the event can no longer take place, or if an organiser has not complied with the measures provided for in the protection plan.

4. Gatherings and private events

Gatherings in public spaces are no longer restricted.

Events organised within the family circle and among friends (private events) may be held under the following conditions:

At home or in private spaces, they are limited to 30 people inside and 50 people outside. A protection plan is not required.

  • In facilities or establishments accessible to the public and without a COVID certificate, they are limited to 250 people inside and 500 people outside; regulations for the catering sector apply and dancing is not permitted. The obligation to implement a protection plan is maintained.
  • In facilities or establishments accessible to the public, access to which is restricted - for persons aged 16 and over - to holders of a COVID certificate, they are not subject to any restrictions other than drawing up and implementing a protection plan. If the number of people exceeds 1'000 (e.g. weddings), a sanitary authorisation must be requested from the cantonal medical office.
Sanitary authorisation

This application must be submitted at least two weeks before the event. To do this, it is necessary to :

  1. Complete the authorisation form;
  2. Send the specific protection plan to autorisation1000@etat.ge.ch with the completed Excel file.

 

5. Education and training

In universities, technical colleges and further education institutions, there are no longer any restrictions on face-to-face teaching, but masks must still be worn in confined spaces.

Measures for compulsory school and upper secondary level are within the competence of the cantons.

6. Sports and cultural activities

For people involved in sports or cultural activities, wearing a mask and keeping a distance are no longer mandatory. If the activities take place indoors, contact details of all participants must be collected.

7. Masks

Masks no longer need to be worn in outdoor areas of establishments and facilities accessible to the public.

In enclosed areas of establishments and facilities accessible to the public, including public transport, masks must be worn.

8. Safeguarding employees

Employees who are in contact with consumers, customers or visitors must wear a mask indoors (e.g. restaurants or retail outlets). The mask is no longer mandatory outdoors, unless the employer decides otherwise for specific reasons of employee protection.

The STOP principles (substitution, technique, organisation, personnel) continue to apply.

In facilities or establishments accessible to the public, as well as in events where access is restricted to persons in possession of a COVID certificate, all staff members and others persons who are in contact with customers or visitors must either all possess a COVID certificate or all wear a face mask indoors. The operator or organiser is obliged to implement either scheme.