Swiss must leave telephone numbers in bars and restaurants 

Swiss bars and restaurants can reopen from Monday, but with strict social distancing and other anti-coronavirus rules. Keystone

People in Switzerland will be able to go to bars and restaurants again from May 11, but only if they leave their phone numbers, according to an anti-coronavirus safety plan for the sector. 

This content was published on May 6, 2020 - 12:27

Groups will be limited to four people (with the exception of large families) and there must be a distance of at least two metres between tables, according to the plan unveiled on Tuesday by the hotel and restaurant sector associations. 

In addition, customers’ details (name, telephone number, date and time of visit) will be recorded along with their table number. The restaurant must keep this data for 14 days and then delete it fully.  

This measure is to help anti-coronavirus contact tracing according to the plan drawn up in consultation with the Federal Office of Public Health and the Federal Food Safety Office, but some fear it is too intrusive. For example, Gille Meystre, head of the restaurant sector association in canton Vaud told Swiss television RTS on Tuesday that it was a “big negative point”.   

A spokeswoman for the Federal Data Protection CommissionerExternal link told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that it was not the task of private catering establishments to check the accuracy of the information provided, or to trace infected persons. For this reason, "the collection of names and telephone numbers as a measure to combat epidemics should in principle only be carried out on a voluntary basis," she said. 

Standing in bars and restaurants will not be allowed when they re-open on Monday. Establishments must make hand cleansing with soap and water or disinfectant available to customers as they enter.  

They must also ensure that their staff are exposed “as little as possible” by taking appropriate protection measures, limiting the duration of contact with clients or putting other types of service in place, according to the sector rules. The wearing of masks for staff is recommended but not compulsory. 

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