Government's loosening lockdown plan under scrutiny

The government's three-stage plan announced this week has come in for some criticism, notably its lack of provisions for reopening restaurants. Keystone

Swiss Economics Minister Guy Parmelin says the government wants a return to economic normality as soon as possible and that state aid to companies coming out of coronavirus lockdown should not become a “pillow for laziness”.

This content was published on April 19, 2020 - 12:43

“The sectors and industries coming out of isolation or which can reopen must quickly do without short-time working subsidies and other federal government aid,” he told Le Matin Dimanche newspaper in an interview on the government plan for coming out of lockdown.

The three-stage plan announced this week has come in for some criticism. Head of the Zurich cantonal government Carmen Walker Späh criticizes in the NZZ am Sonntag the fact that hairdressers will be able to reopen on 27 April but not bookshops. She also finds it incomprehensible that supermarkets can offer their full range of products but specialist shops must stay closed. Restaurants should also be able to reopen more quickly, Späh told the paper. MP Leo Müller also argues in the SonntagsZeitung that restaurants should be allowed to reopen at least partially on May 11.

"I do not rule out the possibility that restaurants may reopen in a few weeks' time," Parmelin told Le Matin Dimanche when asked about the issue. "It depends on how the situation develops."

On the issue of hair, Le Matin’s journalist starts by noting that Parmelin’s hair is longer than usual. “My wife says she can’t put up with it any longer, but help is at hand,” says the minister, explaining that his hairdresser sent a text message proposing an appointment after April 27.

So why are we so obsessed with our hair? Le Matin Dimanche also carries an interview with French sociologist Michel Messu, who has written a book on this. Even in confinement, we still want to project an image to others, notably on social media, he says, and so for many people, hairdressers are almost a basic need!

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