Coronavirus: Measures and ordinances

There are various measures, rules and bans in place on the basis of the epidemic. They all have the same goal: to contain the coronavirus. The Federal Council will adapt the national rules if necessary. In some cantons stricter rules apply.

The Confederation’s measures to combat the coronavirus

Overview: national rules and bans

The following overview shows the rules and bans that currently apply nationwide. In other words, these measures, at the very minimum, apply throughout Switzerland. Stricter measures may apply in certain cantons. You can find information about these in the section entitled Cantonal measures.


Recommendation to work from home: Working from home is recommended in all areas where it is possible to work from home without disproportionate effort.

COVID certificate: Employers may check whether their employees hold a certificate if this is necessary for deciding on appropriate precautionary measures or for implementing testing concepts. The information on immunity status or the test result may not be used for any other purpose. Employees must be consulted on the use of the certificate and the measures derived from this, and these must be documented in writing. On data protection grounds, employers must use the “light certificate” with minimised data wherever possible.

Masks compulsory indoors: Employees are also subject to the general requirement to wear a mask in publicly accessible indoor spaces. Otherwise there is no longer a general requirement to wear a mask. However, employers are still obliged to protect employees and decide where and when it is necessary to wear a mask at the workplace. You will find more information on the SECO website (in German, French and Italian).

Protection in the workplace: Information can be found (in German, French and Italian) on the page Precautionary measures and on the page People at especially high risk.

Private gatherings and parties

The number of people allowed to attend events among friends and family (for example gatherings and parties) that are not held in publicly accessible establishments and businesses is limited. The numbers include children.  

Rule indoors: A maximum of 30 people is allowed.
Rule outdoors: A maximum of 50 people is allowed.

The FOPH’s recommendations on hygiene and distancing have to be observed.

Private events in public establishments The rules of the establishment in question on events apply.



Access to indoor events for people aged 16 and over is restricted to holders of a valid COVID certificate.

Exempt from this COVID certificate requirement are:

  • Events with a maximum of 30 people belonging to an association or other fixed group whose members are known to the organiser. For these indoor events, masks must be worn, the consumption of food and drinks is banned and a 2/3 capacity restriction applies.
  • Religious ceremonies, funerals, events that fall within the scope of the normal activities and services of public authorities, political events and self-help groups with up to 50 people. For these indoor events, masks must be worn, the consumption of food and drinks is banned, a 2/3 capacity restriction applies and contact details must be collected.
  • Blood donation campaigns are not considered events and are therefore not subject to the COVID certificate requirement. The current rules on hygiene and social distancing still apply at blood donation centres.

Special requirements apply for indoor events that do not require a COVID certificate. Precise details may be found on the Precautionary measures page.


The following applies for outdoor events where access is not restricted to people holding a COVID certificate:

  • If seating is compulsory, a maximum of 1,000 participants may be admitted.
  • If seating is not compulsory, a maximum of 500 participants may be admitted.

For all outdoor events where COVID certificates are not mandatory, special requirements apply. Precise details may be found on the Precautionary measures page.

Large-scale events

Large-scale events with more than 1,000 people may only be attended by people with a valid COVID certificate.

Trade fairs and consumer shows

If trade fairs and consumer shows are not held exclusively outdoors, access for people aged 16 and over must be limited to those holding a valid COVID certificate.

The organisers of trade fairs and consumer shows must also draw up and implement a set of precautionary measures. If more than 1,000 people are present each day, authorisation must be obtained from the canton.


Masks must be worn in publicly accessible indoor spaces, for example in shops or in enclosed areas of public vehicles. Further details can be found on the Masks page. The general rule of thumb applies: Always wear a mask indoors when you are away from home, no certificate is required and you are unable to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres from other people at all times.

Restaurants and bars  

For people aged 16 and over, access to the indoor areas of restaurants and bars where people consume food and drinks on the premises must be restricted to holders of a valid COVID certificate. Guests are then no longer subject to restrictions such as the requirement to wear a mask. This rule also applies for hotel restaurants (but not for people just staying overnight in the hotel).

No access restrictions apply for street vendors, company canteens and restaurants in airport transit zones that are only accessible to passengers with tickets. The operators of catering businesses in these areas must put in place precautionary measures that are suitably tailored to the specific situation.

For outdoor areas, operators are free to decide whether they wish to impose access restrictions or not.

If an operator does not restrict access to outdoor areas, either the requisite distance of 1.5 m must be maintained between guest groups or a barrier must be installed.

Nightclubs and dance venues

The following applies to nichtclubs and dance venues: Events where guests dance are only possible if admission is limited to people with a COVID certificate. The contact details of the guests must also be collected.

Cultural, sports and recreational facilities

If visitors are not confined to outdoor areas, access for people aged 16 and over must be restricted to holders of a valid COVID certificate.

This applies to the following, among others:

  • museums
  • concerts
  • theatres
  • cinemas
  • indoor swimming pools, water parks and thermal baths
  • libraries (it is still possible to collect ordered/reserved books without a certificate)
  • fitness centres
  • zoos (if visitors can move between indoor and outdoor areas)

Entry checks with the COVID certificate

When letting people in, it is important that event organisers check the validity of the COVID certificate and always check against matching photo identification (e.g. ID card, passport, driving licence, residence permit, student card). In addition, organisers of large-scale events must obtain a cantonal permit. The COVID certificate is the only permissible document for entry. This applies to both the Swiss COVID certificate and to recognised foreign certificates (e.g. the EU Digital COVID Certificate). You’ll find more information for checkers and issuers on the COVID certificate on the corresponding page.  

Cultural and sporting leisure activities

For indoor cultural and sporting activities, access for people aged 16 and over must be restricted to holders of a valid COVID certificate. In addition, the premises must have effective ventilation.

Cultural and sporting activities can be performed without the requirement for a COVID certificate if a maximum of 30 people are present who regularly meet up in the group and are known to the organiser. This applies to cultural and sporting leisure activities carried out in clubs (e.g. football training, choir rehearsals) as well as cultural and sporting activities independent of clubs, e.g. yoga classes.  

For competitions and performances before spectators or an audience the rules for events apply.

No distinction is now made between professional and amateur sportspeople or professional and amateur performers. You will find more information on the Federal Office of Sport FOS website and the Federal Office of Culture FOC website


Compulsory schools and upper secondary schools (e.g. baccalaureate and vocational schools): Measures for compulsory schools and upper secondary schools (for example requiring the wearing of masks) are the responsibility of the cantons.

Tertiary level (e.g. universities and other higher education institutions) and recreational courses: Masks must be worn in accordance with Article 6 of the Special Situation Ordinance, a two thirds capacity restriction applies and a set of precautionary measures must be in place. The cantons or institutions of higher education may impose a certificate requirement for attending Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses (after examining the admissibility of such a restriction in the light of the teaching mission, its practicability and the availability of a sufficient data processing basis). The requirement to wear a mask and the restriction to two thirds occupancy will then no longer apply.

Precautionary measures

All operators of publicly accessible establishments and businesses must draw up and implement precautionary measures.


People who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive must go into quarantine.

Details and exceptions can be found on the Isolation and quarantine and Entering Switzerland page.


Anyone contravening the measures to fight the epidemic is committing an offence; persons who fail to comply with the rules may be fined between 50 and 200 francs, depending on the offence. For example, anyone who does not wear a mask in the enclosed areas of public vehicles, in enclosed railway stations and in publicly accessible buildings may be fined. A fixed penalty may also be issued to persons attending banned events, breaching the requirement for a certificate or holding an unpermitted private event.  

Measures to date

Would you like to know what measures the federal government has adopted in the past? In this case you have various options:

Future measures: three-phase model

According to the Swiss Federal Council’s three-phase model we are currently at the normalisation phase.

Future measures will be based on the epidemiological situation and Switzerland’s overall strategy for managing the epidemic. The Swiss Federal Council has defined a three-phase model outlining the strategic approach up to the exit from the COVID-19 crisis against the backdrop of increasing vaccination coverage and the introduction of broad and repetitive testing.

You will find more information on the strategy for managing COVID-19 on the Situation in Switzerland site.


Cantonal measures

Since June 2020, Switzerland has been in a special situation under the terms of the Federal Epidemics Act. The Federal Council determines the measures that apply throughout Switzerland. However, compared to the extraordinary situation in the spring of 2020, the cantons now have a greater say in matters. The cantons also adopt additional measures if the case numbers in their territory increase or threaten to increase. Therefore, the measures can differ from one canton to the next.

Consult the corresponding canton to find out which cantonal measures apply. Where the cantonal measures are stricter than the national measures then these must be observed. The links to information provided by the cantons can be found on the website (in German, French or Italian).

Healthcare provision

The cantons can require public and private hospitals to make capacity available to treat COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals are required to have sufficient stocks of essential medicines to treat both COVID-19 patients and those requiring other urgent medical treatment.

The federal government supports the cantons in ensuring the supply of medical goods.

The individual provisions relating to the supply of important medical goods can be found in COVID-19 Ordinance 3.

Reporting requirement for healthcare providers

The federal government coordinates the availability of hospital beds necessary for COVID-19 patients, for which it needs up-to-date information from hospitals. For example, the cantons are required to notify the Coordinated Medical Services (CMS) of how many hospital beds and intensive care spaces are occupied.


Explanatory notes

This content is not available in English. Please switch to the German, French or Italian version of this page.

Covid-19 Act

The Federal Covid-19 Act (in German, French or Italian) was passed by the Swiss parliament on 25 September 2020. It creates a legal basis allowing the Federal Council to maintain the measures resolved by emergency decree that are still necessary to manage the Covid-19 epidemic.


Communicable Diseases Legislation – Epidemics Act, (EpidA)

The Epidemics Act aims to ensure that communicable diseases are detected, monitored, prevented and controlled at an early stage and helps to better manage disease outbreaks with a high risk potential.

Informations complémentaires

Precautionary measures

For businesses/institutions, children and schools, gastronomy sector, medical practices, public transport, sport and recommendations for employers

Health insurance arrangements

Coverage of medical expenses, tariffs and financing

Communicable Diseases Legislation – Epidemics Act, (EpidA)

The Epidemics Act aims to ensure that communicable diseases are detected, monitored, prevented and controlled at an early stage and helps to better manage disease outbreaks with a high risk potential.

Easy-to-read language

Rules and prohibitions of the Federal Council, information about the corona virus, when you have to stay at home

Sign language

The rules and prohibitions of the Federal Council, information about the corona virus, when you have to stay at home

Last modification 06.10.2021

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