Health Alert – COVID-19 Information for Switzerland and Liechtenstein (May 15, 2020)

Subject: Health Alert – COVID-19 Information for Switzerland and Liechtenstein (May 15, 2020)
Location:  Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Update for U.S. citizens regarding COVID-19 in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive health and security updates and to ensure the State Department can locate you in an emergency.

Please continue to monitor the Embassy’s COVID-19 information page and local news.  Please share this message with other U.S. citizens currently in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Current Information:

Swiss Authorities still categorize the situation in Switzerland as extraordinary under the terms of the Epidemics Act.  However, mandated restrictions are being gradually eased.  All businesses and institutions must put in place a set of precautionary measures and everyone must observe hygiene and social distancing rules.

Open/permitted since 27 April, Phase 1

This phase of the easing concerned healthcare institutions, self-service facilities, personal services and DIY and garden centers.

  • All procedures at hospitals, medical and dental practices
  • All procedures at other healthcare institutions such as physiotherapy and massage practices
  • DIY stores, garden centers and florists
  • Funerals attended by family members
  • Personal services involving physical contact such as hairdressers, beauty salons and tattoo studios
  • Self-service facilities such as car washes, solariums and pick-your-own crops

Open/permitted since 11 May, Phase 2

This phase concerns primary and lower secondary schools, shops, markets, museums, libraries, certain sports facilities and restaurants.

  • Classroom teaching at primary and lower secondary schools
  • Classroom teaching of up to 5 people, including the teacher at upper secondary schools, higher education and other educational institutions (driving school, language schools)
  • Exams at educational institutions
  • Museums, libraries, archives (excl. reading rooms)
  • Recreational sports activities not involving physical contact by individuals and in groups of up to 5 people (including coach, trainer or supervisor), incl. use of sports facilities as long as precautionary measures are in place and observed.
  • Shops and markets
  • Training involving physical contact by team members, playing in a predominantly professional league (competitive and top level sport). These must follow strict hygiene rules as part of a set of precautionary measures.
  • Training sessions for competitive athletes who are members of a national squad, or who train as individuals or in groups of up to 5 people (including coach, trainer or supervisor), or as part of a regular competitive team (competitive and top level sport). Appropriate precautionary measures are in place and observed.
  • Travel agencies
  • Visits to restaurants, bars and pubs under the following conditions:
    • individual groups of guests consist of no more than 4 people or parents with children (incl. patchwork families)
    • customers are seated to consume food and beverages

Expected to open or be permitted from 8 June, Phase 3

(pending Federal Council decision on 27 May)

  • Gatherings of more than 5 people
  • Swimming pools (open to the public)
  • Theatres and cinemas
  • Upper secondary schools, higher education and other educational institutions
  • Zoos, botanical gardens, animal parks, mountain transport services
Country-Specific Information: It is recommended that teleworking continues until further notice.

  Keep your distance.
  Wash your hands thoroughly.
  Don’t shake hands.

  Cough and sneeze into a paper tissue or the crook of your arm.
  Stay at home if you experience symptoms.

Always call ahead before going to the doctor’s or the emergency department.

Recommendation: If it’s not possible to keep your distance, wear a mask.

  Continue to work from home if possible.

For current hygiene and social distancing rules, see:

All persons with the exception of those from the Principality of Liechtenstein will be refused entry to Switzerland.

Exceptions are possible, for example for persons who live or work in Switzerland. Anyone wishing to enter Switzerland despite the ban on entry must be able to prove that they meet the necessary requirements.

As of 11 May, gradual easing is permitted: applications submitted before 25 March by workers from the EU/EFTA area and from third countries will be processed. For Swiss and EU citizens, family reunification in Switzerland will become possible again. Border controls will however remain in place and travel for tourism continues to be banned.

Switzerland is planning to open its borders with Austria, Germany, and France on June 15.  (pending Federal Council decision on 27 May) There is no date yet for border relaxation with other countries.

Flights to the U.S.: Flights to the United States from Switzerland

International commercial flight options currently exist in Switzerland.  U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights in Switzerland and Liechtenstein at this time. The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens have a plan to depart from Switzerland and/or Liechtenstein that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.

Direct flights
:There is only one remaining direct flight from Switzerland to the United States in operation, the Zurich to Newark route operated by Swiss International Air Lines. This flight is currently scheduled 3 times a week, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, however this may change it any time and without prior notice.  The flight can be booked directly through Swiss or most travel arrangers.

Transit flights:
 Many countries have closed their national borders. Travelers flying to the U.S. by transiting through a third country should work directly with the airline to confirm that they are allowed to transit.The Department of State does not endorse any private company and assumes no responsibility or liability for services provided by private companies. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions affecting travel to the U.S.

For more information visit Embassy Bern’s COVID Information Page FAQs:

Local Resources: For the most up-to-date information on numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Switzerland and Liechtenstein:
Federal Office of Public Health (English)
Federal Office of Public Health (German – most frequently updated)
Assistance: U.S. Embassy Bern, Switzerland
031 357 70 11 (dialing within Switzerland)
+41 31 357 70 11 (dialing from overseas)

State Department – Bureau of Consular Affairs 
+1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada)
+1-202-501-4444 (from other countries)

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health Hotline
+41 58 463 00 00 (staffed 24 hours in German, French, Italian and English)

Switzerland Country Specific Information
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