QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (last update April 15, 2021)
Visit this page for tips regarding trip planning, cancellation and more: www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus.
1. Can I visit Switzerland now?
It depends on where you live. Please see the country list compiled by Switzerland Tourism. You can download it at the bottom of this post.
- Ireland: entry allowed;
- Denmark, Finland, Norway, Singapore, South-Korea, Spain, Sweden: entry allowed, but restrictions apply upon returning home;
- USA: entry only allowed for US and Swiss citizens with residence in Switzerland;
- Other countries: not allowed to enter, or only with severe restrictions.
The information on the country list is derived from two lists of "high-risk" countries:
- List 1 from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). This list explains who are allowed to enter Switzerland.
- List 2 from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). This list is meant for those who are allowed to enter Switzerland (see list 1) and determines which conditions apply when entering. You can view this as a map here.
Here are some examples:
- If your country is on list 1 (SEM), you're not allowed to enter Switzerland as a tourist yet. For example: travelers from the US can't come yet.
- If your country is on neither of these lists, entry into Switzerland is allowed with minimal restrictions. For example: travelers from Singapore only need a negative PCR test.
- If your country is not on list 1 (SEM), but is on list 2 (FOPH), restrictions apply when entering. For example: Dutch travelers need a negative PCR-test and go into a 10-day quarantine.
We expect various countries (US, UK, Israel, UAE) to be removed from the "high-risk" lists soon, but that is no guarantee.
Please re-verify conditions before you travel. Keep reading for more details.
If you're allowed to travel, the below conditions apply:
- Anyone who visits Switzerland and has been staying in a country that's designated as 'high risk' on list 1 within the 10 days before entering, has to present a negative PCR test, performed in the last 72 hours. Moreover, they'll have to fill out an entry form. After arrival, an obligatory 10-day quarantine applies. This period may be shortened if on the 7th day a new negative test (either PCR or antigen) is presented. Testing and quarantine exemptions apply to transit passengers. Please visit the official pages through the links below for all details.
- To anyone entering Switzerland who has not been staying in a 'high risk' country on list 1 within the 10 days before entering, the obligatory quarantine does not apply. Other measures do apply. Those entering by plane have to fill out a form and present a negative PCR test, performed in the last 72 hours. Those entering by bus, train or boat have to fill out a form. Those entering by private transportation such as their own car don't have present a test, nor do they have to fill out a form.
The situation for your return trip depends on the country you return to. Please consult the rules for that specific country as well.
Several formats for (digital) documents providing proof of vaccination and/or negative test results are being developed at the moment. Such initiatives are likely to make tourist traveling and entry into Switzerland much easier. The most important one is the Digital Green Certificate by the European Union. We'll update this thread once decisions have been made.
The situation changes often, so please make sure to the check the links we provide below for the current status:
2. What's the current coronavirus situation in Switzerland?
The vaccination of the Swiss population started 23 December 2020. This will continue for quite some time. Measures against the virus will continue to apply. There's a partial lockdown throughout Switzerland. Measures are gradually being released. Minor differences may apply per canton. Please find an overview per canton at www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/planning/transport-accommodation/travel-to-switzerland/where-and-when-is-what-open/#open). This is the overall situation from April 19:
- (tourist) traveling into Switzerland is partially possible. There are restrictions though: details can be found under #1;
- rapid antigen detection tests, to be used as self-tests, are available in Swiss pharmacies;
- wearing a face mask is mandatory for all people over 12 years old in all public buildings (such as shops and public areas in hotels), in public transportation as well as on railway stations, bus and tram stops and at airports. The same goes for any outdoor area in which a distance of 1,5 m can't be kept;
- outdoors, groups of max. 15 people are allowed;
- indoors, groups of max. 10 people allowed;
- events are allowed, with a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
- sports and leisure facilities such as cinemas are open, although capacity may be limited;
- hotels are open;
- restaurants are closed, but outdoor terraces are allowed to be open. Take-away services and delivery services are available and hotels may cater to their guests. Guests can be asked to identify themselves and/or leave their contact details for tracing reasons. A maximum amount of guests per table applies and guests should be seated. They may take off their masks once seated;
- museums, public gardens, libraries and sports facilities are open;
- most shops are open. A maximum number of guests can apply. How many visitors are allowed in at the same time, depends on the size and surface of the store;
- an app for tracing coronavirus cases and for warning is used. The 'SwissCovid' app can be downloaded for free and is available in 9 languages. Using it is not obligatory, but the government strongly recommends doing so.
Please find details at https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/massnahmen-des-bundes.html.
Extra hygiene rules and social distancing apply everywhere until further notice, and institutions and services have to comply to strict measures.
3. What's the current public transportation situation in Switzerland?
In short, this is the situation per type of transportation:
- wearing face masks in public transportation (including boats, mountain railways and cable cars) and at airports, railway stations, tram and bus stops is obligatory. Face masks are also required in all planes taking off and landing in Switzerland. Face masks can be bought in many shops, including the shops and kiosks at train stations. Many of the 'Selecta' snack vending machines offer face masks as well. You can also buy them online via Amazon;
- the train schedule is largely normal. The timetable is up-to-date. It includes all modes of transport, including cable cars and mountain trains. Alternatively, links to timetables and the latest news of individual mountain transport/boats/et cetera can be found on our activity pages: www.myswissalps.com/activities;
- mountain transportation is mostly operating and most boat rides are available according to normal schedules;
- tourist trains are operating. Please check timetables through the 'Route' tabs on each of our activity pages. Saver Day Passes and Supersaver tickets are available . On-board catering and luggage services are offered too.
Train trips from and to France, Germany, Italy and Austria are possible. Night trains and night buses might be suspended though, and timetables may temporarily be reduced. Always plan ahead carefully and check the timetable for your planned travel dates.
Further details about traveling by public transportation:
- passengers should try to keep a distance of 1,5 m. And as mentioned, wearing a face mask is required;
- travelers are asked to pay cashless as much as possible;
- transportation companies have intensified their cleaning routine;
- toilet and washing facilities at major railway stations can be used free of charge.
For more details, please see the links here: www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus/planning.
4. If I can visit Switzerland again, how should I plan my trip?
Please find our planning suggestions at www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus/planning.
5. What can MySwissAlps.com do to help me?
This is how we help:
- we regularly update this thread and the information here: www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus;
- we provide many tips for planning safe future trips: www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus. Our website and moderators remain available to help you plan your holidays and to address your questions and concerns;
- if necessary, we’ll try to assist you with issues concerning bookings made through our partners.
We hope this crisis will soon be defeated and that we can all enjoy Switzerland again. Meanwhile, stay safe!
An old version of this thread is archived here: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/coronavirus-switzerland-from-23-feb-to-25-apr-2020.