Switzerland was affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak beginning in late February 2020. In response to the crisis, the Swiss government enacted rather harsh lockdown measures, which included travel restrictions, border closures, the closing of schools, shops and restaurants, among others. The economic impact of the COVID-19-related measures was cushioned by short-time working compensation and loans for companies impacted by the pandemic. Many employers consciously decided to rent smaller premises in search of office space and quickly switched to home office (remote work) arrangements for their employees. Indeed, 50% of the Swiss workforce was working from home during the peak of the epidemic. Experience in this regard has been consistently positive, so that homeworking will very likely continue even after the COVID-19 crisis has ultimately passed. While many companies are struggling with liquidity problems as a result of the crisis, the large waves of redundancies that had been predicted, have, fortunately, not yet materialised. However, only in the months to come, will we be able to accurately assess the true economic consequences of COVID-19.
Decrees, orders or guidelines in effect and pertaining to reopening facilities.
In March, the Federal Council issued measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19 Regulation 2) – legal restrictions and requirements such as bans and rules of hygiene and conduct were implemented. Since 27 April 2020, the Federal Council has gradually relaxed the measures and re-opened establishments and facilities that had to be closed during the lockdown.
Every facility which is accessible to the public needs to have a protection concept in place that minimises the risk of transmission. The obligation to draw up a protection concept also applies to those establishments and facilities that did not have to interrupt their activities. Standard protection concepts are available on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. The website is available in German, French and Italian: https://backtowork.easygov.swiss/
Optimal approach to keep track of the latest updates.
The website of the Ministry of Health contains updated information on the current situation in Switzerland and abroad, with the news about the latest measures and regulations, including explanations, contact information and links to instructive websites. The site is available in German, French, Italian and English: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/de/home.html
The website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs contains an overview of all press releases on the coronavirus as well as information on financial aid for companies, short-time work, measures for job seekers, compensation for loss of earnings for self-employed persons and employees, measures in the area of labour law, health, protection at the workplace, information on protection concepts and more. The site is available in German, French and Italian: https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/home/Arbeit/neues_coronavirus.html