Terraces and restaurants: a glimmer of hope for March 22

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The Federal Council is no longer completely closing the door to reopening restaurants before the date initially envisaged. It sets Monday, March 22, and no longer April 1, the second step of its strategy to lift restrictions. That day, and as far as the epidemiological situation allows, it could authorize the operation of the terraces of cafes and restaurants, as well as sporting and cultural events “in a restricted framework” which remains to be specified. On that date, the teleworking obligation, which is not strictly applied everywhere, would be lifted.

And the full opening of restaurants? It could also take place on March 22, as well as the return of indoor activities and face-to-face teaching in universities. The Federal Council will take a final decision on Friday March 19, which coincides with the last day of the session of the Federal Chambers. This clarification is important, because several parliamentary committees are asking it to speed up the pace of reopening public establishments and even plan to anchor this requirement in the Covid-19 law, which will be dealt with during this parliamentary session.

Don’t wait until April 1

For the Federal Council, the determining criteria for the deconfinement stage of March 22 are defined as follows: the positivity rate of the tests must be less than 5% (it was 4.7% on Wednesday), the number of care beds intensive care units occupied by Covid-19 patients must not exceed 250, the average reproduction rate over seven days must be less than 1 (0.92 Wednesday). In addition, on March 17, the incidence of infections over 14 days must not exceed the level of March 1.

Read also: A careful deconfinement in two stages

The Federal Council thus heard part of the appeal launched by the cantons, which felt that it was not necessary to wait until April 1 to restart restoration activities.

Shops reopen on March 1

However, he confirms his intentions for March 1. All businesses can reopen their doors next Monday, but with a limitation on the number of people admitted inside a store. Up to 40 square meters of surface, three customers are allowed simultaneously. Beyond that, a minimum of five people can be present, the maximum number depending on the total area (10 square meters per customer) and turnover (66% from the sale of food).

Museums, library reading rooms, outdoor areas of zoos, botanical gardens and recreational facilities, ice rinks, football and tennis fields, athletics stadiums also reopen on March 1, the Port of mask remaining compulsory. Outdoors, meetings are possible for up to 15 people, but nothing changes for the interior. Finally, young people under 20 can once again take part in sporting and cultural activities.