Covid-19: Swiss scrap fines for not keeping distance

A journalist interviews a politician on May 25 Keystone

The government has abolished fines of CHF100 ($104) for not keeping a distance of two metres, introduced on March 20 in an attempt to minimise the spread of Covid-19. 

This content was published on June 4, 2020 - 08:58
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The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) still recommends that the distance of two metres be maintained for personal contact. However, the threat of a fine “no longer seems justified in view of the current low number of cases”, reported Tamedia newspapers on Thursday, quoting the FOPH. 

“In the context of the current loosening of measures, the self-responsibility of citizens is increasingly coming to the fore.” 

On Saturday the government already removed penal provisions on a minimum distance in public. 

However, the Covid ordinance still provides for fines in some cases, such as shopping tourism or for taking part in gatherings of more than 30 people, for example in a park. Events of up to 300 people are permitted as long as the organiser has a protection concept. 

Holding hands 

Since March 20 the police have fined thousands of people who did not keep their distance. In Zurich, for example, a couple were each fined CHF100 for holding hands in a park. As city security chief Karin Rykart told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), the woman and man – who live together – were fined because they had failed to react when a police officer ordered everyone in the park to move apart. 

The cantons, who are responsible for enforcement, informed the FOPH last week about the abolition of the fines. The FOPH is now examining how to inform the public.


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