From March 1st, shops, museums and libraries should open, and events with 15 people in the open air as well as sport and culture for young people should be possible. Everything else will follow later.
After a two-week break, the Federal Council presented the corona strategy for the coming weeks.
It provides for a gradual exit from lockdown.
First, shops, museums and outdoor areas of zoos should be allowed to reopen. The gastronomy has to be patient.
On Wednesday, the Federal Council presented a strategy for how the economy and society can gradually return to normal without risking a third wave. This is what it looks like.
15 people from March 1st
From the first of March, private events with up to 15 people in the open air should be possible again. In addition, young people up to the age of 18 should be able to pursue most of the sporting and cultural activities again.
Openings of shops, museums and libraries
From the beginning of March, the Federal Council wants to relax where there is a low risk of infection. Shops, museums and library reading rooms should be able to reopen, as should the outdoor areas of zoos and botanical gardens. Mask requirements, keeping your distance and capacity restrictions apply in all of these locations. Sports facilities such as artificial ice rinks, tennis and soccer fields or athletics stadiums can also reopen. In addition to capacity restrictions, the wearing of a mask or keeping one’s distance apply. Only groups of a maximum of five people are allowed. Competitions and events are not permitted in popular adult sports.
Second opening step before Easter
A second opening step is to take place on April 1st. The Federal Council plans to re-enable cultural and sporting events with an audience within a narrowly limited framework, as well as indoor sports or the opening of restaurant terraces. The prerequisite for this is that the epidemiological situation allows this.
In its decision to open, the Federal Council is based on guidelines: the positivity rate should be below five percent, the occupancy rate of the intensive care units with Covid-19 patients below 25 percent and the average number of reproductions over the last 7 days below 1. Also, the 14-day incidence on March 24th cannot be higher than it was when it opened on March 1st. These guide values are not automatic. When making its decision, the Federal Council will assess the combination of these guide values.
The rest of the measures will be extended
After consulting the cantons, the Federal Council will decide on the first opening step and how to proceed at its meeting on February 24. All other measures that the Federal Council decided on December 18, 2020 and January 13, 2021 are to be extended by one month to the end of March.
Entry rules for children clarified
The Federal Council has also specified the entry requirements, which have been a maximum since February 8, 2021, and adjusted the ordinance. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from the obligation to test upon entry. In addition, when do people who die for business reasons only briefly stay in Switzerland, such as truck drivers, do not have to fill out an entry form. In addition to PCR tests, rapid antigen tests are now also approved as test evidence for entry.
This is how the risk is assessed
The opening steps should take place nationally on the basis of simple principles. The next steps take place every month. The key to early opening is, on the one hand, whether a mask can be worn during a certain activity and whether it is possible to keep your distance. On the other hand, there are situation-specific aspects. This includes the number of people as well as the fact whether an activity takes place inside or outside and how much you move. The Federal Council also takes into account which measures are particularly burdened from a social or economic perspective, especially for young people.
The Federal Council is again speaking more money to cushion the economic damage caused by the corona measures. The compassionate use program is to be increased to a total of 10 billion francs and the number of daily allowances for insured persons is to be increased by 66 daily allowances for the months of March to May 2021. Short-time working is also possible for longer: The Federal Council should be requested to extend the maximum duration from the current 18 to 24 months within two years. The federal government will cover the costs of short-time working, and it expects additional expenditure of up to 6 billion francs. The federal government and the cantons want to review the maximum values for the À-fonds-perdu contributions. Last but not least, there will be talks with banks to reintroduce the Covid-19 loans. For the implementation of all these measures, the federal government is submitting supplementary credits to Parliament in the amount of CHF 14.3 billion.
Overall, the pandemic hit the federal budget badly: For 2020, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer closes the bill with a record deficit of CHF 15.8 billion. A plus of 344 million francs had been budgeted. There is likely to be a gap in the cash register in 2021 as well: According to current estimates, a funding deficit of around CHF 20 billion is expected for the current year 2021.