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.

News: Easing of measures

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.

A crucial aspect everywhere to protect yourself and others from infection: the rules on hygiene and social distancing.


Work

Homeworking compulsory: Homeworking is compulsory in all areas where it is possible to work at home without disproportionate effort.

Masks compulsory indoors: If several people are working in the same room or using the lift together they must all wear a mask. This rule also applies if large distances are maintained. Further details can be found on the Masks page.

Protecting people at especially high risk: People at especially high risk benefit from specific protection. They have the right to work from home or equivalent protection at the workplace or leave of absence. Further details can be found in the COVID-19 Ordinance 3 (German, French, Italian).


5-person rule

Rule: Events with family and friends, for example get-togethers and parties, may only be attended by a maximum of 5 people. The number of people attending includes children.

Recommendation: The Federal Council recommends restricting gatherings to two households and minimising the number of contacts.


Gatherings in public spaces

In public spaces (for example footpaths, parks and squares), gatherings of more than 5 people are forbidden.


Public events

Events are basically prohibited.


Masks

Masks must be worn in many public spaces, for example in shops, in restaurants, on public transport and in busy pedestrian zones. Further details can be found on the Masks page. The general rule of thumb applies: Always wear a mask when you are away from home and unable to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres from other people at all times.  


Shops, markets and service businesses

Shops that must close: Shops and markets selling goods that are not day-to-day necessities must close. However, goods that have been ordered can still be collected from the premises (click and collect).

Shops that may stay open: Shops and markets selling so-called day-to-day necessities may remain open. Day-to-day necessities include, for example, food, drugstore items and cosmetics, tableware, cleaning products, newspapers, stationery, and building and gardening supplies. The opening hours of these shops and markets are no longer restricted (e.g. filling stations and kiosks may open on Sundays).

Services: The opening hours of most service business are restricted. This affects, for example, post offices, banks, hairdressers, beauty salons, massage parlours and erotic establishments.


Restaurants and bars closed

Catering businesses are closed.

Exceptions: Canteens in companies and businesses, canteens in compulsory schools and upper secondary schools and restaurants for hotel guests may remain open. Takeaways and delivery services are permitted.  


Clubs closed

Discotheques and dance venues are closed. Dance events may not be held.


Cultural and recreational facilities closed

Museums, cinemas, casinos, botanical gardens and zoos, and also other cultural and recreational facilities, are closed. In libraries and archives, only the reading rooms are closed; it is still possible to borrow books.


Recreational cultural activities

The following applies for recreational cultural rehearsals: Activities with more than 5 people are prohibited. Activities with a maximum of 5 people are permitted subject to the following requirements:

Exempt from the ban and the requirements: children and adolescents under the age of 16. They may rehearse in larger groups.

You will find further information on the website of the Federal Office of Culture FOC (in German, in French, in Italian).


Communal singing

Singing is prohibited in the following situations: Almost everywhere where people sing together in a non-professional setting, e.g. in religious services, traditional New Year's events, among friends, in a band and in amateur choirs. The ban applies both indoors and outdoors. The ban also applies to daycare centres and to singing activities with the children in these centres. You will find further information on the ban on singing in daycare centres in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Singing is permitted in the following situations:

  • Alone or among family.
  • Children singing in music lessons in compulsory schools.
  • In one-to-one lessons.
  • Rehearsals and concerts by professional singers.
  • Rehearsals for professional choirs.


Recreational sport and wellness

  • Sports and wellness facilities are closed. This includes fitness centres, artificial ice rinks and swimming pools. The following remain open: ski areas, equestrian sports facilities and facilities in hotels which are only accessible to hotel guests.
  • Contact sports are prohibited (e.g. martial arts, ice hockey, football).
  • The following applies to all other sports: outdoor training sessions for individuals and for a maximum of five people are permitted providing that physical spacing of 1.5 metres is observed or that all participants wear a mask.

Exempt from the ban and the requirements: children and adolescents under the age of 16. They may train in larger groups and also practice sports with physical contact. Only competitions are prohibited.

You will find further information on the website of the Federal Office for Sport FOSPO (in German, in French, in Italian).


Professional setting: Sport and culture

Professional competitive events and events with spectators/audience are banned. If there are no spectators/audience (e.g. for television broadcasts) they are permitted.

There are no restrictions on professional rehearsals/practice or training sessions. Wherever possible, however, the requirements pertaining to hygiene, distancing and – if distancing cannot be maintained – mask wearing must be observed. Employers are required to protect the health of athletes, dancers, actors, orchestra members, etc. 

Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Sport FOSPO (in German, in French, in Italian) and on the website of the Federal Office of Culture FOC (in German, in French, in Italian).


Schools

Compulsory schools: Face-to-face teaching is permitted. Schools must implement precautionary measures.

Upper secondary schools (e.g. baccalaureate and vocational schools): Classroom teaching is permitted. Schools must implement precautionary measures. Everyone on site must also wear a mask. There is no restriction on group size for sports tuition and this may also be held in sports halls. The requirements concerning physical distancing and/or the wearing of masks must be observed.

Tertiary level (e.g. universities and other higher education institutions): Face-to-face teaching is permitted only if the students absolutely need to be on site (e.g. instruction on operating a particular machine, dissection during medical studies) and if the teaching forms an essential part of the course of study. Otherwise, a switch to remote learning is required. Examinations linked to study courses or higher vocational training and the examinations necessary for obtaining an official certificate may be held on site provided that the precautionary measures are observed.

Recreational schools and courses: Face-to-face teaching is prohibited in courses for adults and young people aged 16 and above. One-to-one tuition, such as in music schools or for the skipper’s licence examination, for example, is permitted.  


Ski areas

Ski areas (e.g. transport installations with ski slopes) may only be opened if authorised by the canton. The criteria for a canton to grant authorisation include, in particular, the availability of the necessary capacity in healthcare facilities and an epidemiological situation that permits the opening of the ski areas. Operators of ski areas must implement stringent precautionary measures, including the mandatory wearing of masks in both the transport installations and the waiting areas for these installations. The closure of restaurant businesses also applies in ski areas.

You will find further information on the precautionary measures page.


Precautionary measures

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




Penalties

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 on public transport, in stations, at a bus or tram stop or in and immediately outside publicly accessible buildings may be fined. A fixed penalty may also be issued to persons attending banned events 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:

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 www.ch.ch (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.

Ordinances




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.

Legislation

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 25.02.2021

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