Hard general lockdown in Austria
Sebastian Kurz’s government has decided on a third lockdown for the country. The Chancellor has just announced this at a media conference. It should apply from December 26th to January 24th.
The canton of Aargau is tightening federal measures
In the canton of Aargau, in addition to restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities, shops, markets and erotic shops will also be closed. In addition, the more stringent measures will come into force on Sunday, December 20, and not just from Tuesday.
Meetings in public spaces are limited to a maximum of 5 people. Secondary and vocational schools do not start operations after the Christmas break; one week of distance learning is prescribed.
The government council welcomed the tightening of the federal government, but “drastic measures are now needed to curb the sharp rise in the number of infections or to reduce the number of infections again,” said a statement.
Gastrosuisse Director: Help comes too late for many companies
The hospitality industry, which has been particularly affected by the new Corona measures, is reacting disappointed, especially with regard to the aid measures. Gastrosuisse director Daniel Borner stated that it is not the money that is spoken that is decisive at the moment, but rather the money that flows. In this regard, the situation has hardly changed since last week. More than half of the cantons still have no solutions as to how they want to pay out hardship benefits. Even official bodies confirmed that it could be February or March. “Then it will be too late for many of our member companies,” says Borner.
Borner recalls that there were already major losses in income in the run-up to Christmas with the many occasions and Christmas parties. Even in the cantons that were not so badly affected, the industry has suffered from communication and the corresponding uncertainty among the population since November. This has already caused major damage. The solution with an opening until 7 p.m. was in itself useless. Of course, the extension of short-time working until the end of March and the compensation of lower incomes of up to 100 percent are to be welcomed, says Borner: “But who protects the independent small businesses, the employers of these employees?”
Schaffhausen decides to take distance learning after the Christmas break
The upper secondary school students in the canton of Schaffhausen will receive distance learning from January 4th to 8th. In addition to the Swiss-wide measures decided by the Federal Council, the Schaffhausen Government Council has for the first week after the Christmas holidays, i.e. from January 4, 2021 to January 8, 2021, for upper secondary level (vocational schools, cantonal schools, higher technical schools and courses for vocational and higher education Subject examinations) distance learning arranged.
In addition, the two-household rule is continued for private meetings. From Thursday, December 24th, 2020 up to and including Sunday, December 27th, 2020, the regulation applies to private meetings, according to which a maximum of 10 people can meet, even from more than two households.
No more than 10 people are allowed to gather in public spaces.
First reactions from the ski areas
After Luzern and Schwyz also has the canton on Friday Zug announced the closure of the ski areas on December 22nd. The reason for this is the high number of cases in the canton and the situation in the central Swiss hospitals, according to the message. An additional burden from accident skiers is unreasonable.
According to the announcement, the Central Switzerland Health Directors’ Conference has also spoken out in favor of not skiing for the time being. The Obwalden and Nidwalden governments will decide on Friday evening.
In the cantons Bern, Graubünden, Vaud and Wallis The ski resorts will remain open for the time being, as the governments report. Valais and Vaud also want to make use of the Federal Council’s exemption for cantons with an R value below 1. Restaurants will remain open in Valais, while in Vaud, in addition to restaurants, sports halls, museums and libraries will initially be available.
Macron talks about his Covid-19 infection
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the population on Twitter and speaks about his corona infection one day after the positive test result. According to the circumstances, he is doing well, he says.
There is no evidence that the infection is progressing negatively. My activity has slowed down a bit due to the virus, but I am still working on important issues, including Brexit. I’m tired, have a headache, a dry cough, like hundreds of thousands of you who have had to live with the virus or are living with it today, ”Macron said in his address.
Zurich government welcomes the new measures
In order for the population to gain understanding and acceptance, uniform and clear rules are needed, writes the Zurich government council in a statement. He therefore welcomes the Federal Council’s new measures and wants to implement them consistently, just like the cantonal ones, which continue to apply. The Zurich Bar and Club Commission is also behind the tightening.
A maximum of ten people may gather in Zurich, curfew for take-aways and hotel restaurants is at 10 p.m., including on New Year’s Eve. Prostitution remains prohibited in Zurich. On Monday, the health department will inform about its vaccination strategy.
The Grisons ski areas remain open for the time being
The lifts are still running in Graubünden. The Graubünden government will decide on Monday whether the ski areas will remain open over the festive season. This is what the Graubünden health director Peter Peyer said in front of the media. The epidemiological situation will be taken into account as well as the capacities in the hospitals.
Hardly any data on places of infection
There are hardly any precise figures on the number of infections, interjects a journalist and asks whether the Federal Council wants to improve the data situation. “We really have little information about the place of infection,” admits Berset. “We are trying to get more information from contact tracing from the cantons so that we can evaluate which measures have brought what.”
This ends the federal media conference. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest coronavirus news here in the ticker.
Isn’t the R-value too old to make decisions?
The R-value is a scientific value that can be relied on, says Alain Berset. It is clear that he is referring to the past. According to the Federal Council, one cannot look into the future.
Patrick Mathys from the BAG adds that there is no way to get closer to reality than by referring to the R value, even if it refers to the past ten days. But the R-value also allows statements about the present and future.
Sommaruga: “We may have underestimated the coordination with 26 cantons”
Following the urgent request from the canton to act – what would Simonetta Sommaruga ask for future cooperation? The regional agreement is not easy, said Sommaruga. Perhaps it was also underestimated how difficult it was to coordinate with 26 cantons. But now everyone agrees that that is the most important thing.
Are easing also conceivable?
A journalist asks if easing would be conceivable if the number of cases fell after Christmas. Berset finds clear words: “Even if the number of cases is halved every two weeks, the number of infections is still not falling enough. We have to tell the truth: if the number of cases does not drop drastically, we will not be able to lift the measures before the end of January. ”
From January 5th, different rules for restaurant openings apply
From January 5th, the R-value of 0.9 will apply to cantons in order to reopen the restaurants. This also means that from then on, restaurants in cantons with an R value above will have to close, explains Alain Berset. The Federal Council went on to say that the value really has to fall so that easing is possible again.
“Show responsibility at Christmas and stay at home”
A journalist asks about the Federal Council’s recommendation for the festive season. “Show personal responsibility and stay at home,” emphasizes Berset. But it is possible to meet the in-laws at Christmas. The key is that everyone reduce their contacts as much as possible, but not completely include themselves.
The Federal Council is not yet thinking about financial support for public transport
As in spring, people are encouraged to stay at home – back then, public transport fell by up to 90 percent. Is the Federal Council expecting it again? “The measures were more drastic in spring,” says Sommaruga – just think of the school closings. At the moment they don’t plan to support public transport either, they have to wait and see how the situation develops. Mobility is less over Christmas anyway.
Sommaruga counters “confused warr allegations”
“In the spring, the country was almost in shock and the Federal Council made drastic decisions about the extraordinary situation. During the second wave, the cantons took on responsibility again in the particular situation. The Federal Council then made fine adjustments. “It automatically became more complicated,” explains Federal President Simonetta Sommaruga.
“We understand the current back-and-forth and the tiredness of the population. I think that the measures taken by the Federal Council over the past two weeks and that Parliament supports the support measures is a sign of great support. The cantons are also behind the measures, “said Sommaruga, adding:” We are trying to do everything humanly possible for the health of the population. ”
Why is there no compulsory home office?
«We strongly recommended working from home. We decided against a duty, however, as it could lead to some problems for employers », explains Guy Parmelin. However, many companies would already resort to home office on their own. “Working from home can also create new problems, for example on a psychological level,” said the Federal Council.
No adjustments in churches for Christmas
The ban on singing should be relaxed and the number of believers increased, this is the demand of high church representatives of the Reformed and Catholic Church. Has the Federal Council discussed this? No, according to Alain Berset – the upper limit of 50 remains.
Employers could prescribe rapid tests
A journalist wants to know to what extent an employer can force an employee to take a quick test. “In general, these tests are voluntary. However, the employer can – if there is a high risk of transmission due to the activity or in cooperation with vulnerable people – prescribe a rapid test, ”replies Michael Gerber, deputy legal manager at the BAG.
The canton of Schwyz also closes the ski areas
After the canton of Lucerne announced the closure of its ski areas during the Federal Council’s media conference, the canton of Schwyz follows. Due to the increasing number of Corona cases, the ski areas will have to cease operations from December 22nd to 29th. The Schwyz government council announced. The canton of Schwyz does not currently meet the epidemiological requirements, according to the announcement.
In the past seven days, an average of over 100 new cases per day have been recorded, and the so-called R value, which tells how many people an infected person is infected, is currently 1.28. In addition, the government explains the decision further that the hospital capacities in the canton of Schwyz are practically exhausted.
Abandoning skiing, snowboarding and sledging is primarily intended to help reduce the number of accidents. The closure affects all ski lifts and chair lifts, ski slopes and toboggan runs. The mountain railways, on the other hand, should continue to operate. Hiking is still allowed. In Schwyz there are some ski areas that are well-known beyond the canton’s borders, including Hoch-Ybrig and Stoos. But there are also ski lifts in the Mythen region and on the saddle.