Coronavirus: Federal Council launches consultation on fifth round of reopening steps
Bern, 11.06.2021 - From Monday, 28 June, the Federal Council is planning a further range of reopening measures, including lifting the requirement to wear a mask outdoors, increasing group sizes per table at restaurants, and reopening clubs and discos for people with a COVID certificate. Shops, leisure and sports facilities should be able to make greater use of their available capacity. In addition, rules for events should be simplified and harmonised. The Federal Council submitted these and further proposals for consultation following its meeting on 11 June. A final decision will be taken on 23 June.
Case numbers, hospital admissions and the occupancy of intensive care units with COVID patients are all falling significantly. In view of these positive developments and the progress being made with the rollout of vaccinations, the Federal Council is planning to lift further restrictions before the summer holidays. It will take a final decision on 23 June when the impact of the fourth round of opening steps is clear.
As set out in the three-phase plan, the COVID certificate should enter into use. For large-scale events and at clubs and discos it will be a requirement. Events for fewer than 1000 people, sports, cultural and leisure facilities and restaurants may limit access to people with a COVID certificate to benefit from less stringent protective measures. The certificate may not be used in everyday life situations, such as on public transport, in shops and at private events.
Requirement to wear a mask outdoors to be lifted
The requirement to wear a mask in outdoor areas of publicly accessible venues, leisure facilities, railway stations and bus stops should be lifted, including on the decks of ships and on chairlifts.The general requirement to wear a mask at work should also be lifted. Employers still have a duty to ensure that staff are protected, but are free to decide where and when masks should be worn. Masks must still be worn if staff are unable to maintain the necessary distance from customers or guests, such as in shops and restaurants.
With regard to the education sector, the Federal Council will lift the national requirement for masks to be worn at upper secondary level. The cantons should once again assume responsibility for setting rules covering baccalaureate, specialised and vocational schools.
Better use of available capacity
Shops, leisure and sporting facilities should be able to make better use of their available capacity. The rules will be harmonised: if masks are worn indoors, the basis for calculating capacity should be reduced to 4 square metres per person. At facilities where it is not possible to wear a mask, such as at indoor pools, the basis will be 10 square metres per person. Water parks should be allowed to open for all visitors on this basis.
Restaurants: Group size unlimited outdoors
Restaurants should be allowed to seat up to six people at tables indoors instead of four. The seating requirement remains. The limit on group sizes and seating requirement outdoors should be lifted. Masks must be worn when moving around the premises indoors. The requirement to record the contact details of all guests remains.
Clubs and discos to reopen
Clubs and discos should be allowed to reopen if access is limited to people with a valid COVID certificate. No more than 250 people may be present at any one time. Masks do not have to be worn but guest contact details must be recorded.
Events with a certificate: Simplified and harmonised rules
At the end of May, the Federal Council decided that large-scale events would be allowed with a COVID certificate. It is now proposing a number of changes. The rules on wearing masks should be simplified: people should only have to wear a mask when moving around. In addition, the maximum number of people allowed should be harmonised: up to 3000 people indoors, and up to 5000 people outdoors, regardless of whether a seating requirement applies. Up to two-thirds of the venue’s capacity may be used.
Events without a certificate: 1000 people seated, 250 people standing
The following should apply for events without a COVID certificate: if the public are seated, as in the cinema, at the theatre or at a football match, up to 1000 people may attend. If people are moving around, as at a wedding or a concert with no seating, up to 250 people may attend. Half of the venue’s capacity may be used. These limits apply indoors and outdoors. Indoors masks must be worn and the necessary distance maintained. Outdoors masks must be worn when moving around. Events involving dancing are not allowed. Rules regarding the consumption of food and drink may vary depending on the specific situation.
In general, what is allowed in a private setting should also apply to events at publicly accessible venues. In other words, at gatherings of family and friends with up to 30 people indoors or 50 outdoors, there is no need for protective measures. So when celebrating a birthday at a restaurant, for example, requirements to wear masks, keep a distance or remain seated do not have to be applied.
Amateur sports and cultural activities: Indoor capacity increased
For sporting activities, group size limits, currently 50 people outdoors and 4 people indoors, will be lifted. Indoors the requirement to wear a mask and maintain the necessary distance will remain. If it is not possible to maintain a safe distance, such as during team sports, or if masks cannot be worn due to exertion, such as during endurance sports or when practising wind instruments, a capacity restriction of 10 square metres per person should apply. Choirs should once again be allowed to give performances indoors.
Self-tests also available at drugstores and in shops
Approved self-tests may also be sold at drugstores and in shops. The packs of five self-tests per person per month funded by the Confederation should continue to be available in pharmacies only but only for people who have not been vaccinated or who have not had COVID.
Decision on the duration of vaccine effectiveness
According to a number of studies, vaccinations with the vaccines approved for use in Switzerland are likely to remain effective for longer than six months. The Federal Council will decide on 23 June on extending the duration of effectiveness based on an assessment by the Federal Commission for Vaccination. This would have an impact on a number of regulations including those concerning the COVID certificate.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Public Health
Coronavirus Infoline +41 58 463 00 00
COVID-19 Vaccination Infoline +41 58 377 88 92
The Federal Council
Federal Department of Home Affairs
Federal Office of Sports
Federal Office of Public Health
Federal Office of Cultural Affairs
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs