Coronavirus: Precautionary measures

Precautionary measures are designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For this reason, all publicly accessible establishments and businesses that are permitted to open must implement specific precautionary measures. Operators of ski areas and winter sports resorts must also have sets of precautionary measures.

Precautionary measures: requirements

All publicly accessible buildings and businesses that are allowed to be open need to have precautionary measures in place. Operators of ski areas and winter sports resorts must also implement precautionary measures.

In order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading again, it is still important to keep an appropriate distance, wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and to wear a mask and erect partitions where necessary.  

The same requirements apply to all these sectors of the economy. The requirements are regulated by the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to combat the COVID-19 Epidemic (Art. 4 and Annex). There are no longer any model sets of precautionary measures. However, business sectors and associations may still refer to them as an aid. Businesses are still required to produce and put in place a set of precautionary measures. Information on precautionary measures can also be found on the SECO website (in German, French or Italian).

The following applies in all situations: People showing symptoms of illness should stay at home and get tested.

The precautionary measures must be drawn up to take into account the following requirements:

  1. They must involve hygiene considerations (e.g. possibility of washing or disinfecting hands, regular cleaning of surfaces) and observing a distance of at least 1.5 metres.
  2. They must additionally ensure that the requirements for the mandatory wearing of masks can be met (particularly in publicly accessible indoor and outdoor areas of establishments and businesses).
  3. They must make it possible for people to observe the necessary distance while entering the establishment, business or event too. This does not apply for access to public transport vehicles. You will find details of the number of square metres of space required per person in the Annex to the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to combat the COVID-19 Epidemic.
  4. If neither this distance can be observed nor is it possible for protective measures to be taken, the business must record the contact details of the persons present. This will ensure that, if someone tests positive for the coronavirus, all close contacts of this person can be traced (contact tracing). Please note: This is not to be regarded as a priority measure, since it cannot prevent transmission of the coronavirus at the location. When recording contact details the business must do the following:
    • Inform the persons present about the recording and purpose of the contact data
    • On request: pass the contact data onto the cantonal authorities
    • Preserve the contact data for 14 days before destroying it.
  5. A person must be named who is responsible for the implementation of the precautionary measures and who is the contact person for the cantonal authorities.

Specific information on the requirements for precautionary measures, for gathering contact data and on the number of square metres of space required per person can be found in the Annex to the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to combat the COVID-19 Epidemic.

Establishments and businesses themselves are primarily responsible for implementing these precautionary measures. Neither the federal government nor the cantons approve the sets of precautionary measures. The cantons are responsible for monitoring compliance and for conducting inspections.

The requirements with regard to precautionary measures may change depending on the given situation. Be sure to check regularly that your precautionary measures meet the latest requirements.

Special provisions for restaurants and bars at hotel establishments and for canteens

At present the only restaurants and bars permitted to open are those in hotels, as well as school and workplace canteens. In addition to the requirements for precautionary measures, the following provisions also apply to hotel restaurants and bars and to canteens:

  • Food and drink may only be consumed when seated. This applies both indoors and outdoors.
  • There must be either the requisite distance or a partition between groups of guests in hotel restaurants and bars.
  • There is a maximum of 4 people per group in hotel restaurants and bars. There are exceptions for families.
  • Company canteens may only serve people working in the company. Only pupils, teachers and other staff may eat in the school canteens and catering operations in compulsory schools. All those present must keep the requisiste distance from one another.

You will find specific information on the rules for restaurants and bars in Article 5a of the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to Combat the COVID-19 Epidemic.

Special provisions for ski resorts

Operators of ski areas and winter sports resorts that anticipate significant numbers of guests must implement a set of precautionary measures.

Procedure for operators of ski areas

Submit the precautionary measures to the cantonal office responsible within the required period. Once you have submitted the precautionary measures, the cantonal office will decide on authorisation within 10 days. The ski area may only operate if cantonal authorisation has been granted. The cantonal office can authorise operation provided that the requirements stipulated in Art. 5c, para 3 of the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to Combat the COVID-19 Epidemic are met.

If a ski area is operated by more than one provider, each must submit precautionary measures and be granted separate authorisation. The cantons must monitor compliance with the precautionary measures on a regular basis.

Provisions for operators of ski areas

In addition to the general requirements for precautionary measures, the precautionary measures formulated by operators of ski areas must govern the following special circumstances:

  • Occupancy of closed vehicles such as gondolas and cable cars may not exceed two-thirds of capacity.
  • Masks must be worn on all ski lifts and gondolas, also while queuing. In addition to this, a distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained while queuing.
  • Measures must be in place to ensure that a distance of 1.5 metres can also be maintained on access paths to the ski area and in the access and waiting areas of transport installations.
  • People who are infected with or have symptoms of the new coronavirus must not be admitted to the ski area. There must be precautionary measures in place to this end, for example guests must be required to make a personal declaration. Staff must also be given instructions not to transport people with obvious symptoms, unless they can prove that the symptoms have nothing to do with COVID-19.
  • The precautionary measures must be coordinated both with the precautionary measures of winter sports resorts and those of the operators of catering establishments (takeaways) in the ski area.
  • The measures set down and compliance with them must be monitored. Visitors who do not keep to the rules must be expelled from the ski area.

You will find specific information on the rules for operators of ski areas in Article 5c of the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to Combat the COVID-19 Epidemic.

Procedures for winter sports resorts

Winter sports resorts must be able to produce and implement their precautionary measures from 18 December. Precautionary measures for winter sports resorts do not require cantonal authorisation; responsibility lies with the municipalities themselves. Responsibility for monitoring the implementation of precautionary measures and for inspections lies with the cantons.

Provisions for winter sports resorts

The precautionary measures for winter sports resorts must include the following requirements:

  • There must be measures to coordinate the opening hours of businesses and takeaways. For example, it should be made possible for the tourists present to go shopping throughout the entire day to avoid large crowds resulting from short opening hours. There must also be measures to guarantee adherence to the requisite distances between any queues that form in front of businesses.
  • The precautionary measures must also define how movements of people in railway stations, at public transport stops and in car parks are to be directed.
  • They must designate where COVID-19 tests can be conducted
  • They must show where staff are deployed and how staff monitor compliance with the measures.

You will find specific information on the rules for winter sports resorts in Article 5b of the Ordinance on Measures during the Special Situation to Combat the COVID-19 Epidemic.

Protecting workers: requirements

Employers are not required to draw up and implement precautionary measures provided their businesses are not accessible to the public. However, they are required to ensure their employees are protected in accordance with the ordinance.

This means employers must ensure that their employees can comply with the hygiene and distancing recommendations. All employees must also wear a mask in indoor areas as soon as more than one person is present in the same room. You will find detailed information on this on the Masks page.

Employers must also introduce further measures applying the STOP principle (Substitution, Technical measures, Organisational measures, Personal protective equipment). These include physical separation, separate teams or the wearing of masks in outdoor areas or in vehicles.  

More information on this can be found on the SECO website (in German, French or Italian).

Further information

Protect yourself and others

Rules on hygiene and social distancing: keep your distance, wash your hands, cough/sneeze into a paper tissue/the crook of your arm, stay at home if you experience symptoms, recommendations on wearing masks and working from home

Last modification 20.01.2021

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