Shops close and remote working returns

FIGHT AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

The Federal Council tightens coronavirus measures starting Monday, January 18 for five weeks - LIVE

 Shops close and remote working returns
Closed shops and teleworking obligation

Shops close and remote working returns

Closed shops and teleworking obligation

The Federal Council extends and tightens the precautions against coronavirus. This was announced in Bern at a press conference attended by Guy Parmelin, President of the Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Alain Berset, Federal Councilor, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) ), Ueli Maurer, Federal Councilor, Head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), Christoph Brutschin, State Councilor, Head of the Department of Economic Affairs, Social Affairs and the Environment of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and President of the Conference of Directors Cantonal Public Economy (CDEP) and Ernst Stocker, Councilor of State, Director of Finance of the Canton of Zurich and President of the Conference of Cantonal Finance Directors (CDF).

The Federal Council has decreed the closure of shops and markets that do not sell basic necessities. Compared to the lockdown this spring, this time the DIY and gardening stores will also be open.

This is the list of the types of sale that are exempt from the closure obligation contained in the Ordinance on measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic in the particular situation:

- grocery stores and other shops, insofar as they sell food or other basic necessities and everyday items

- pharmacies, drugstores and shops for medical aids, such as glasses and hearing aids

- the points of sale of telecommunication service operators

- repair and maintenance shops such as laundries, tailors, cobblers, key duplication services, car repair shops and bicycle shops, insofar as they offer a repair service

- hobby and gardening shops, as well as hardware stores, for hobby and gardening items

- the flower shops

- gas stations

- the markets for livestock and livestock for slaughter in the open

Closed shops and remote working obligation

The number of infections remain at a high level and with the circulation of the new, much more contagious variants of the virus, the risk of a surge in infections increases. In consideration of the epidemiological situation that remains tense, in its session on January 13, the Federal Council decided to give a further crackdown on the measures against the spread of the coronavirus. «We have the possibility to slow down the evolution of the pandemic with the new measures. It is a crucial moment in the fight against coronavirus, «said the President of the Confederation Guy Parmelin, adding that at the moment we do not know how the vaccine will affect infections and that it is therefore essential to persevere with health measures. On the one hand, we extend the closure of restaurants by five weeks until the end of February, of cultural and leisure facilities and sports facilities decided last December. Alternatively adopting new measures to drastically reduce contacts: from the 18th of January it will be mandatory to work from home, shops that do not sell basic necessities will have to remain closed, private events and gatherings will be further limited and protection will be strengthened. «We are at a crossroads: either we wait and take even stricter measures later, or we act now, as tough, yes, but sustainable measures», Federal Councilor Alain Berset explained. «We would like to make an extra effort now so that the situation does not escalate further: there are very contagious variants in circulation», Why wait for next Monday if the situation is urgent? «The measure is already rapid - said Berset -. We are facing a possible explosion of infections and we must act as quickly as possible».

On the 11th and 18th December last, the Federal Council tightened the measures by decreeing, among other things, the closure of restaurants and facilities for culture, leisure and sport from the 22nd of December. Despite these exacerbations, there has not yet been a significant turnaround in the progression of new cases. The epidemiological situation remains extremely tense: the number of infections and hospitalizations and the pressure on health personnel remains very high.

New highly contagious variants

Switzerland is currently also having to deal with the presence of two new variants of the coronavirus, highly contagious, which risk causing a surge in infections that are difficult to control. In many countries where these variants circulate to an important extent, new infections have grown rapidly in recent weeks. The Federal Council has no data indicating that the situation in Switzerland could evolve differently than in these countries. According to initial estimates, the new variants would be 50-70 percent more contagious.

The Federal Council finds these scenarios extremely worrying, although so far there are no indications that the new variants are more dangerous or likely to cause more severe disease courses. For the purposes of an even more drastic reduction in contacts, and therefore a slowdown in the spread of new variants of the coronavirus, the Government has therefore given a further crackdown on the measures.

Extension of closures by five weeks

The Federal Council is extending the measures which was decided last December by five weeks: the restaurants and facilities for culture, leisure and sport will be closed until the end of February.

Closure of shops that do not sell basic necessities

From January the 18th, the Government also tightens national measures, closing shops and markets. Businesses that sell basic necessities are an exception. It is also possible to collect ordered goods on site. The rule that provided for the closure of shops, petrol station shops and kiosks at 7pm and on Sundays is instead revoked.

Teleworking obligation

Employers must arrange for teleworking in cases where, due to the nature of the activity, this is possible and achievable without a disproportionate burden. Given the limited duration of the measure, they do not have to pay the workers any allowance for expenses, for example for electricity or rent.

Additional workplace measures

For cases in which the work cannot be done from home, or can only be partially done, further measures have been issued: to ensure the protection of workers, a mask is mandatory in closed places if there are more people present. A greater distance between workstations in the same room is no longer sufficient.

At the request of the Conference of cantonal directors of health and based on experience in the execution, the procedures for exemption from the obligation of the mask were also specified: to prove that you are entitled to it for medical reasons it is necessary the certificate of a doctor or psychotherapist which can only be issued if indicated for the person requesting it.

Protection of people at particular risk

Particularly at risk people are specifically protected with the introduction of the right to telework or equivalent protection in the workplace, or to leave from work. In professions where protection provisions cannot be implemented, the employer must exempt workers at particular risk from the obligation to work while continuing to pay them their full salary. In these cases, the right to compensation for loss of earnings due to coronavirus exists.

Restrictions for private events and gatherings

A maximum of five people, including children, can participate in private events. Even in public spaces gatherings of more than five people are not allowed.

Open ski areas

Regarding ski resorts, Alain Berset explained that these can remain open: «Each canton is free to take stricter measures and close, if it deems appropriate, the ski areas».

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