COVID-19 - Restrictions, closures and other measures

1. Overview

1) Federal Ordinance (amendments - status as of 13th September 2021)

Since 1st July 2021, the COVID-19 certificate has been mandatory for major events with 1'000 or more people in clubs, discotheques and dances (the so-called red area). 

During its session of 8th September 2021, the Federal Council decided that, in view of the current epidemiological situation and the large number of hospital beds being occupied, the obligation to present a certificate would be extended to other areas as from 13th September 2021: 

CF_Covid certificate extension
CF_Covid certificate extension

Download the infographic chart

Consult the Ordonnance COVID-19 situation particulière (Available in French, German and Italian)

The COVID-19 certificate is compulsory for all persons aged 16 and over in the following venues :  

  • Discotheques and dance halls (indoor and outdoor)
  • Restaurants, bars, cafés (indoor areas)
  • Cultural facilities and institutions (museums, libraries, concert halls, theatres, cinemas), entertainment (casinos, escape games), leisure (billiard halls) and sports (bowling, fitness centres, climbing rooms, swimming pools), unless they only open their outdoor areas (zoos, swimming pools)

The COVID-19 certificate is compulsory for all persons aged 16 and over to participate in the following events :

  • Large events, i.e. over 1,000 people (indoor and outdoor)
  • Specialist trades fairs and fairs for the general public (Les Automnales, car shows) unless they are held outdoors only
  • Indoor events, with some exceptions (for more details, see point 3)

No certificate requirement is applied to the following activities and venues :

  • Indoor events up to a maximum of 30 people who meet regularly and are known to the organiser
  • Events between family or friends in premises not accessible to the public up to a maximum of 30 people 
  • Religious events and events for the formation of political opinions, up to a maximum of 50 people 
  • Public transport, retail trade and airport transit areas 
  • Legislative assemblies
  • Personal services, such as hairdressing salons, therapeutic and counselling services
  • Catering services at social contact points (e.g. soup kitchens) 
  • Workplaces and training establishments

 

2) Cantonal decree (amendment of 5th August 2021)

In accordance with the recommendations of the FOPH, the State Council has enacted specific measures aimed at reducing the risk of contamination in health care institutions. 

Since 23rd August 2021, in order to be able to carry out their activity, when it requires close contact with the persons under their care, the staff of public and private inpatient medical establishments, medico-social institutions (EMS), institutions for the handicapped (EPH), home care and assistance organisations and day-care homes for the elderly must have a valid COVID-19 certificate (vaccination, COVID-19 recovery or a negative test) or participate in the screening system set up by the establishment.

In order to strengthen the protection of the people cared for in these institutions, visitors must also present their COVID-19 certificate (vaccination, COVID-19 recovery). 

 

3) Information about the issue and control of the COVID certificate - FOPH

The obligation to present a certificate applies to persons aged 16 and over. 

The COVID certificate is issued to persons who have been vaccinated, cured or have a negative test result, either in paper form or via an application. 

The authenticity and validity of the certificates can be checked via the freely available application: "COVID Certificate Check". 

Operators of establishments and organisers of events where access is restricted to persons holding a certificate must organise access control and ensure that the staff in charge of access control use the "COVID Certificate Check" application correctly and verify the identity of persons by means of a photo ID document.

The QR code on the paper certificate or in the "COVID Certificate" application is scanned. The surname, first name and date of birth of the person holding the certificate and its validity are displayed. The person checking the certificate must compare the surname, first name and date of birth with the information on a photo ID document (e.g. passport, ID card, driving licence, residence permit, student card or SwissPass). This ensures that the certificate has been issued to the person in question. 
 

See also:

More information about the COVID certificate in the COVID-19 certificates webpage.

2. Establishments, shops, services and activities

  • Discotheques and nightclubs
    Discotheques and dance halls must limit their access to holders of a valid COVID-19 certificate. This is required for both indoor and outdoor areas. Wearing a mask is 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
    Establishments where consumption takes place on the premises are subject to the following rules:
    • Indoors: for persons aged 16 and over, establishments must limit access to persons with a certificate. The mask must be worn until the certificate and identity check is carried out. Once access has been granted, the mask does not have to be worn. These establishments are still subject to the obligation to draw up and implement a protection plan that includes measures concerning hygiene and the enforcement of access restrictions.
      Masks are compulsory for all persons aged 12 years and over in queues prior to access, in takeaway and ordering areas.

      Exceptions: Company restaurants, catering establishments in social facilities and in airport transit areas may waive the requirement to restrict access to persons with a certificate. They must implement adequate protective measures (distance required between customers or groups, masks when moving around and the obligation for people to sit down to consume).  
       
    • Outdoors: for those aged 16 and over, establishments may decide to limit access to persons with a certificate. If an establishment has no plans to limit access outdoors, the required distance between groups should be maintained or effective partitions should be installed. People consuming in outdoor areas where access is not restricted to certificate holders should wear a mask when going inside the establishment (to the toilet, for payment), regardless of whether they have a certificate or not.
       
  • Shops, markets and service businesses
    All shops, service businesses and markets may be opened without capacity limitation. No certificate requirement is introduced. In indoor areas, masks must still be worn. Operators are still obliged to draw up and implement a protection plan which includes measures concerning hygiene and the management of the flow of people in such a way that the distance of 1.50 metres between all persons can be maintained.

    Any operator may choose to introduce a certificate requirement.

 

  • Cultural, entertainment, leisure and sports facilities and establishments
    Access is restricted to holders of a COVID-19 certificate (except where only their outdoor areas are open to visitors). Operators are still required to draw up and implement a protection plan that includes measures on hygiene and the enforcement of access restrictions.

 

Certificat COVID obligatoire
Certificat COVID obligatoire

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3. Events, public functions and fairs

1) Outdoor events accessible without a COVID-19 certificate

Events with up to 1,000 people (visitors and participants excluding the organiser's team), if the following conditions are met :

  • Visitors must be seated: the limit is 1,000 people
  • Visitors have standing room and can move around freely: the limit is 500 people.
  • Facilities may only be filled to two-thirds of their capacity
  • Visitors do not dance

Private events (friends, family) of up to 50 people that do not take place in facilities or establishments accessible to the public.

 

2) Indoor events governed by the principle of limiting access to holders of a COVID-19 certificate

Access to indoor events is limited to persons aged 16 and over who hold a certificate. Hence, events such as concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings, sports events, private events (weddings, birthdays) in areas accessible to the public are not subject to any restrictions other than the drawing up and implementation of a protection plan which provides for measures concerning hygiene and the application of access restrictions.

Exceptions to the obligation to restrict access to persons with a certificate :

  • For small events (association meetings, yoga groups, choir groups practising in the same constellation) the following conditions must be met:  
    • The limit is 30 persons (visitors or participants)
    • Association meeting or other fixed group whose members are known to the organiser (in principle people who meet regularly in this composition)
    • Facilities may only be filled to two thirds of their capacity
    • Masks must be worn and the requisite distance should be observed if possible
    • No food or drink is consumed
       
  • For religious events (worship, weddings and memorial services), funerals and memorial services:
    • The limit is 50 people (visitors or participants)
    • Facilities may only be filled to two thirds of their capacity
    • Masks must be worn and the requisite distance should be observed if possible
    • No food or drink is consumed
    • Contact details are collected
       
  • For events organised as part of the usual activities and services of any given authorities (civil weddings, conciliation or driving theory tests by the motor vehicle department):
    • The limit is 50 persons (visitors or participants)
    • Facilities may only be filled to two thirds of their capacity
    • Masks must be worn and the required distance is respected as much as possible
    • No food or drink is consumed
    • Contact details are collected
       
  • For events used for political opinion-forming (delegate or party meetings):
    • The limit is 50 people (visitors or participants)
    • Facilities may only be filled to two thirds of their capacity
    • Masks must be worn and the required distance is respected as much as possible
    • No food or drink is consumed
    • Contact details are collected
       
  • For meetings of self-help groups established in the field of addiction and mental health if the following conditions are met:
    • The limit is 50 people (visitors or participants)
    • The facilities may only be filled to two thirds of their capacity
    • Masks must be worn and the required distance is kept as far as possible
    • No food or drink is consumed
    • Contact details are collected
       
  • For private events (friends, family) limited to 30 people in private spaces not accessible to the public (home, rooms for hire). The obligation of the protection plan does not apply.
     
  • For legislative assemblies at federal, cantonal and communal level (Grand Council assemblies, parliamentary committee meetings, municipal council meetings), the number of people is not limited. A protection plan must be drawn up and implemented and must provide for hygiene and distance measures.
     
  • For meetings of public corporations that cannot be postponed, the number of persons is not limited. A protection plan must be drawn up and implemented and must provide for hygiene and distance measures.

 
There is no limit to the number of persons attending meetings required for the performance of the official duties of the institutional beneficiaries referred to in Article 2 paragraph 1 of the Host State Act of 22 June 2007 (Loi sur l'Etat Hôte). A protection plan must be drawn up and implemented and must include hygiene and distance measures.
 
For political or civil society events and signature gatherings (events which serve to express or shape political and social opinion and which generally take place in the public space), the number of people is not limited and the obligation of a protection plan does not apply.

 

 

Certificat COVID obligatoire
Certificat COVID obligatoire

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4. Events with more than 1'000 people

Events with more than 1'000 people 
(with mandatory sanitary authorisation).

1) Major events

Access to large events with more than 1,000 people 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 enforcement of access restrictions;
  • Requesting a sanitary authorisation from the cantonal doctor's office.

 
2) Specialist fairs

Organisers of trade fairs (e.g. trade shows) and general public fairs (e.g. car shows) must draw up and implement a protection plan:

  • Fairs that are not held exclusively outdoors must restrict access for those over 16 years of age - to holders of a COVID-19 certificate only. They are not subject to any restrictions other than the protection plan, which includes measures concerning hygiene and the enforcement of access restrictions.
  • Fairs with more than 1,000 visitors or participants per day must obtain a sanitary authorisation from the cantonal doctor's office.

 

Applying for a 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, German or Italian only) 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. 

If the event takes place on several sites, the specific protection plan must cover all the sites.

This application must be submitted at least two weeks before the event. o do this, you must complete the authorisation form and attach your specific protection plan:

  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 reject the authorisation as soon as possible after analysing the file.

The department in charge of health, upon notice from the cantonal doctor's office, may revoke an authorisation or issue additional restrictions if the epidemiological situation deteriorates to the point where the event can no longer take place, or if an organiser has not respected the measures provided for in the protection plan.
 

IMPORTANT
A maximum number of participants will be fixed and adapted according to the deteriorating health situation in the canton. The application for a COVID health permit must be submitted at least two business weeks before the event. Applications submitted online after the deadline will not be processed.

 

 

Certificat COVID obligatoire
Certificat COVID obligatoire

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5. Education and training

Compulsory school and upper secondary level.  Information is available in the internet ge.ch leaflet COVID-19 - Ecoles, formations et jeunesse.

Universities and colleges may restrict access to teaching and research activities at bachelor, master and doctoral level to persons holding a certificate.

If they do not require a certificate for access to teaching, a protection plan must be drawn up and implemented which provides for the compulsory wearing of masks and the occupation of the premises to a maximum of two thirds of their capacity.

Please check directly with the concerned institutions to find out what health measures are in place.

6. Sports and cultural activities

If activities take place indoors, effective ventilation should be provided.

For people who practice sports and cultural activities indoors:

  • Access is limited to only those persons (if 16 years and older) holding a certificate. This restriction does not apply to fixed groups of up to 30 people who are known to the organiser and who regularly train or rehearse together in separate rooms.
  • Effective ventilation must be provided.
  • For the activities of organisations and institutions in the field of socio-cultural activities for children and young people intended for persons under 16 years of age, one should only apply the obligation to draw up and implement a protection plan, which mentions in particular the permitted activities.

7. Masks

In enclosed areas of establishments and facilities accessible to the public (including public transport, taxis and chauffeur-driven cars), masks must be worn.

Exceptions:

  • in publicly accessible facilities and establishments or at events to which access is restricted to persons with a certificate;
  • for children under the age of 12;
  • for persons who can attest that they cannot wear a face mask for medical reasons;
  • for persons in out-of-home care or educational institutions, if wearing a face mask would significantly complicate care or education;
  • for people undergoing medical or cosmetic treatment of the face;
  • for persons performing in front of an audience, namely speakers;
  • for people involved in sports or cultural activities.

8. Safeguarding employees

The employer ensures that employees can comply with health recommendations (hygiene and distance). The STOP principles (substitution, technique, organisation, personnel), continue to apply, the employer takes measures such as the possibility of working from home (teleworking is no longer compulsory but is still recommended), the establishment of physical separations, the separation of shifts, regular ventilation, the wearing of a face mask.

It is no longer compulsory to wear a mask in the workplace, but it is up to the employer to decide where and when it is still necessary to wear a mask.

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 protection of his/her employees.

Employers may ask their employees to present a certificate if this allows them to determine appropriate protective measures or implement screening plans. Information on the immune status or screening result may not be used for any other purpose.

The use of the certificate and the resulting measures must be subject to consultation with employees (this means consultation with the staff committee or with employees directly in small organisations) in order to obtain the opinion of the staff, to allow the latter to express their opinion, to make possible counter-proposals to the recommended measures that could be implemented after the checking of the staff who hold a Covid certificate.