Geneva in semi-lockdown; all non-essential businesses to close

Geneva, Switzerland – Canton Geneva has introduced a strict lockdown that will go into effect at 19:00 on Monday 2 November and remain in force until the 29th. The measures follow a spike in Covid hospitalizations and occur as the number of daily cases crosses the one thousand mark in spite of new measures taken just a week ago.

Covid cases Switzerland to 30 Oct 2020
This graphic provided by the Swiss Confederation shows Canton Geneva, Vaud and Zurich among the most affected in Switzerland.

According to cantonal authorities, as of 1 November there are 474 hospitalizations in the Geneva University Hospital system (HUG); that is more than six times the number of patients admitted just two weeks ago when there were 78.

The number of patients in intensive care also increased dramatically. There are now 56 beds taken, compared to 13 in mid-October.

What closes?

The list is rather long. All dancing and music venues, bars, casinos, cinemas, museums, exhibition halls, libraries, theaters, sports facilities including skating rinks, gyms, all types of wellness facilities, and swimming pools, enclosed areas at the botanical gardens and zoo at Bois de la Batie, retail stores, barber shops, tattoo, massage and beauty parlors, and non-food markets such as fleamarkets will have to close. All sex work and related activities will be prohibited.

Cafés, restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars and the like can remain open for take-out and delivery. All tertiary level school instruction will be conducted remotely, unless otherwise indicated.

What remains open?

Good news for parents with school-age children, as schools up to secondary level II remain open. Also open are: supermarkets and corner stores selling food, health-related businesses such as pharmacies, drugstores, opticians, hearing aid and orthopedic equipment vendors, bookstores, flower shops, post offices and bank branches. 

All “repair” services such as shoe cobblers, clothing alteration and bike repair shops may still operate. You’ll still be able to visit your favourite hardware, DIY and gardening stores. Locksmiths will also be there should you get locked out of your own place in one of those moments in desperation. 

Places of worship will remain open but won’t offer services with the exception of weddings and funerals – and even those are limited in the number of participants. Your office cafeteria can ensure service for those still venturing there, and this time around there won’t be restrictions to use outdoor sports facilities (just keep it to no more than five persons). 

Public and private gatherings

If you are not dizzy yet, here a few more rules and restrictions.

No more than five persons belonging to different households can get together whether indoors or outdoors… this includes, unfortunately for many, weddings.

Funerals, and those meetings that cannot be postponed –including from non-governmental organizations– can gather up to 50 persons provided the use of masks and social distancing.

Sports activities (excepting competition games) for children under 12 are permitted indoors and outdoors in groups of 15 max.

Rehearsals for those age 16 and over are allowed for groups of 15 or less provided the use of masks and social distancing.


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