COVID-19 Information for Switzerland and Liechtenstein

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COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR SWITZERLAND AND LIECHTENSTEIN

Last updated: 10/19/2020


Country-Specific Information:

 

The measures put in place to address the spread of the coronavirus are subject to change, and we recommend confirming directly with Swiss authorities for the most current information. For more details please visit the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

 

New Measures valid starting October 19, 2020:

 

  • Masks now mandatory in the whole of Switzerland:The requirement for persons over the age of 12 to wear a mask on public transport has been in place since 6 July. From Monday 19 October this will be extended to railway stations including platforms, airports and other publicly accessible public transport areas. As before, persons who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are exempt from the requirement. Masks are now also compulsory in publicly accessible indoor spaces including all shops, shopping centers, banks, post offices, museums, libraries, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, indoor areas of zoos and botanical gardens, restaurants, bars, discos, casinos, hotels (with the exception of guests’ rooms), entrance areas and changing rooms in swimming pools, sports facilities and gyms, doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and places of worship, advisory centers and neighborhood centers. Masks must also be worn in publicly accessible areas of administrative buildings. Face masks must also be worn in all schools and higher education establishments, in child-care facilities and in the training areas of sport and fitness centers if part of the center’s precautionary measures. See the FOPH website for mask requirements, including how to wear masks correctly.

 

  • Rules for private events:
    Gatherings should be avoided were possible. At private events attended by over 15 people, food and drink may only be consumed while seated. Anyone standing up must wear a mask. Furthermore, hygiene rules must be observed at all times and contact details must be recorded. For private events of more than 100 people there must be a set of precautionary measures (as for public events) and may only be held in publicly accessible venues.

 

  • Gatherings of more than 15 not permitted in public:
    Spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 persons are not permitted in public spaces such as town squares, streets, paths and parks. The aim is to prevent private events moving outdoors. Organized outdoor events such as political and civil society demonstrations are permitted provided precautionary measures are observed.

 

  • Seating requirements in bards, clubs and restaurants:
    In restaurants, bars and clubs, food and drink may only be consumed while seated, both indoors and out.

 

  • Working from home recommended

 

  • Cantonal measures
    You will find information on cantonal measures on each canton‘s website. You will find a collection of links to cantonal information sites at www.ch.ch

 

  • A Note on Border Openings and International Travel:
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the Switzerland due to COVID-19.
  • As of, June 15, Switzerland has lifted all COVID-19 related entry restrictions for travelers from other Schengen countries. The Swiss government has not announced a date when Switzerland will lift the current entry restrictions for U.S. citizens.

 

  • Pregnant women among the people of high risk:
    • On the basis of the evidence currently available, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has come to the conclusion together with the Swiss Association for Gynecology and Obstetrics (SGGG) that pregnant women are among the people at especially high risk.
    • The document entitled ‘Categories of persons at high risk’ (PDF, 139 kB, 24.06.2020) contains a continually updated list of who is considered to be at especially high risk based on the latest scientific findings.
    • If you are unsure whether you are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, please contact your doctor.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

 

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? YES, but not for tourism.
    • At this time the United States remains on the list of high-risk countries and U.S. citizens will remain subject to the current entry restrictions.
      Contact the nearest Swiss Embassy or Swiss Migration Office (corona@sem.admin.ch)  and your airline.
    • There is the possibility to enter Switzerland for important business meetings which cannot be postponed and must be in person. At this time, a special entry permit is needed to enter Switzerland for business travel from non-Schengen countries. This application can be sent directly to corona@sem.admin.ch, including for example the following documents: appointment confirmation, copy of passport, travel itinerary, reason for urgency of appointment/visit, and the reason for the need to be present personally.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? NO
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? YES
  • As of July 20, the Switzerland has largely followed the EU Council recommendations regarding entry requirements of non-EU citizens. Third country nationals who do not have rights of free movement and do not hold a valid permit allowing them to live or work in Switzerland will be refused entry.Citizens from high risk countries are restricted from entering Switzerland. Entry rules can change very quickly depending on the epidemiological situation. This list is subject to change and U.S. Embassy Bern recommends regularly checking the FOPH’s list of high-risk countries.

Please also note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the Switzerland due to COVID-19.


Movement Restrictions:

 

  • Is a curfew in place? NO
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? NO

Quarantine Information:

 

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? YES
    • Mandatory quarantine for persons arriving in Switzerland
      People arriving in Switzerland from certain countries (including the USA) are required to go into a MANDATORY 10-day quarantine.
      The list of countries will be updated continuously.  If you are arriving in Switzerland from one of the countries with a high risk of infection you will be required to:

      • Go immediately on arrival to your home or to other suitable accommodation.
      • Stay there for 10 days from the day of your arrival without going out. Follow the instructions on quarantine(PDF, 142 kB, 06.07.2020).
      • Report your arrival within two days to the responsible cantonal authority.
      • Follow the instructions from the authorities.
      • A negative test result does not shorten the quarantine period.

COVID-19 Testing:

  • Identifying infection early on: if you feel ill, or are experiencing particular symptoms, stay at home, take the coronavirus check, or call your doctor. Answer all the questions in the online check or on the phone as well as you can. At the end you’ll receive a recommendation as to what to do next  and be instructed to get tested if necessary. Stay at home until the results of the test are available. These recommendations also apply if you have only mild symptoms. This is because infected people are contagious even if they feel well.
  • You can find information on how best to proceed in the event of a positive or negative test result on the page What to do in the event of symptoms and possible infection.
  • You’ll find details of the typical symptoms on the page Disease, symptoms, treatment.
  • Federal government assumes test costs: In order to rapidly break chains of infection it is important that as many people as possible infected with the virus are identified and tested. As of 25 June 2020, the federal government is therefore assuming test costs where the FOPH’s criteria are met. This is the case, for example, if you experience symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and your doctor advises that you get tested for the coronavirus. A notification via the SwissCovid App of a contact with an infected person is also a criterion for cost coverage. If the FOPH’s test criteria are not met, the federal government will not pay the test costs. This can be the case if you require a test result in order to be able to travel, or if the test is carried out at the request of your employer.

Transportation Options:

 

  • Are commercial flights operating? YES
    • International commercial flight options currently exist in Switzerland.  U.S. citizens returning from the affected countries are required to travel through 13 airports (see DHS notice of arrival). These flights can be booked directly with the Airline 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 United States.

      For more information visit Embassy Bern’s COVID19 Information Page FAQs.

  • Is public transportation operating? YES
    • Persons over the age of 12 are required to wear a mask in trains, trams, and buses, as well as on mountain rail and cableways and on lake and river boats.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

 

  • For non-compliance with host country rules, heavy fines or arrest may apply.


Consular Operations:

 

  • American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit
    Although services for U.S. citizens are still limited, passport production has resumed.  Visit our website to apply for a U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad as well as Notarial Services.  Appointments are available at the U.S. Embassy in Bern and the consular agencies in Geneva and Zurich. 
  • Visa Unit
    Limited services.  The travel restrictions from Schengen countries to the United States under Presidential Proclamation 9984 still apply.  U.S. Embassy Bern recommends that individuals who meet one of the categorial exemptions under the PP 9984 (i.e. spouse of U.S. citizen/LPR, parent of U.S. citizen/LPR child, etc.) apply for a B1/B2 visa in order to document that they meet the exemption. If you are planning to travel to the U.S., please visit the CDC’s Website for Travelers.

Any person entering the consular section will be required to wear a face covering; children under six years old and those unable to wear a covering are exempt from this requirement.


Local Resources:

 


Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Bern, Switzerland
031 357 70 11 (dialing within Switzerland)
+41 31 357 70 11 (dialing from overseas)
BernACS@state.gov

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)