Interest groups present demands for coronavirus exit plans

The government is expected to present its Covid-19 exit plans on Thursday. The picture shows Swiss President Sommaruga (centre) with Interior Minister Berset (right) and Economics Minister Parmelin (left) talking to the government spokesman. Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

Political parties, trade unions and other interest groups have published their proposals for the government to relax restrictions introduced to stem the Covid-19 pandemic.

This content was published on April 15, 2020 - 12:32

The calls come a day ahead of the government’s decision on a nationwide coronavirus exit strategy, notably a staggered resumption of business activities and the reopening of schools.

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The right-wing Swiss People’s Party demanded that the government give up its special powers by April 20, and that economic and social restrictions be lifted while ensuring the protection of vulnerable people.

In a similar vein, the centre-right Radical Party, traditionally close to the business community, called for detailed exit scenarios in line with the health situation in the country.

The think tank Avenir SuisseExternal link, which advocates a free market economy, wants the government to lift all restrictions by April 26, warning of a steep increase in unemployment and high costs for businesses if the curbs are upheld.

Avenir Suisse also stressed the need to increase the testing of population on a broad scale and the respect of hygiene precautions.

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For its part, the Trade Union FederationExternal link has stressed the importance of preventive measures to secure jobs and to guarantee full salaries.

The federation calls on the government to present proposals, including a waiver of health insurance premiums to help low-paid employees, as well as for those who can’t go to work because they have medical preconditions.

In addition, the leading trade union umbrella group, wants additional state support for childcare facilities which were ordered to close in mid-March as well as one-person business ventures.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is pushing for multi-billion economic stimulus package compatible with a sustainable and climate-friendly policy principles.

The centrist Christian Democrats have called for a transparent information policy and more solidarity in Switzerland while a left-wing Social Democratic parliamentarian says rich countries like Switzerland have a responsibility to help developing countries cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.   

The government pledged an economic relief programme to the tune of CHF42 billion ($43.6 billion). Parliament is due to meet in an extraordinary session next month to discuss the financial aid package.

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