Lockdown in Switzerland: these penalties threaten restaurants and shops

Those who violate the requirements of the Federal Council and still open their business will have up to three years in prison. Image: Exit in Baden, March 14, 2020. Alex Spichale / AGR

Up to 3 years imprisonment: These draconian punishments threaten if stains open despite lockdown

With law and order against the virus: The Federal Council is tightening its pace. It is said that those who intentionally fail to comply with the regulations endanger the health of other people.

Sven Altermatt / ch media

The measures are drastic, as are the penalties for violations: In the fight against the Corona virus, European governments are resorting to ever more drastic means. They are also enforced with a hard hand.

In Austria, for example, a meeting ban and a de facto curfew have been in effect since the beginning of the week. Those who do not stick to it risk severe punishments. The authorities were empowered by Parliament to use coercive measures. The Corona Law allows them to prohibit entering certain places. There are particularly high penalties for innkeepers who still open their premises. You face a fine of up to 30,000 euros.

Italy goes even further. The whole country has been a protected zone for days. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, over 20,000 people were reported for violations of the Corona quarantine between Thursday and Sunday alone.

The key messages from the lockdown media conference:

Video: watson / nico franzoni

And in Switzerland? There are no curfews. However, shops, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities across the country will remain closed until April 19. The Federal Council ordered this yesterday. In his new Corona regulation, he introduced a strict criminal law for the first time. The Epidemic Act already contains provisions; Violations of government measures are punished with a fine. However, anyone who deliberately opposes these should even be fined or imprisoned for up to three years.

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The Federal Council did not comment on this at its media conference yesterday. Only on request did Agnès Schenker, Minister of Information for Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter, say: “We can only get the situation under control if we all stick to the measures.” Those who deliberately fail to do so endanger the health of others and the functioning of the health system. “This justifies the punishment with a fine or a prison sentence of three years,” said Schenker. However, the regulation does not provide for a minimum penalty – minor cases could be punished with a heavy fine.

This would affect, for example, the operators of restaurants or shops who still open their businesses. But also people who hold an event despite the ban or who do not suspend their club activities.

So far, the rule is: first warn, then take action

Over the weekend, the Swiss police corps were initially busy checking the 50-person limit introduced in Friday afternoon in bars and restaurants, as a survey by CH Media in several cantons shows. In many places, the motto was: first warn and only if punishment is unsuccessful.

The restaurant operators have basically adhered to the limit, it was said at the Zurich City Police. But especially younger people don’t seem to take the federal government’s recommendations on behavior equally seriously. According to eyewitnesses, up to forty people gathered in groups in some places in Zurich. There were similar reports from other cities. However, this is still not prohibited.

The Zurich cantonal police said that the regulations had been implemented with a sense of proportion over the weekend. A spokesman said that half a dozen companies had been checked for evidence that there were more than 50 people in them. “We have drawn the operators’ attention to the new regulations, some of whom were not yet aware of them.” In all other cantons requested, warnings were given in corresponding cases. “All checks were absolutely problem-free and met with great understanding from everyone involved,” said a spokesman for the cantonal police in St. Gallen.

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Police corps must enforce a stricter regime

As research shows, several police corps were already working on concepts for how to enforce the stricter regime before the recent Federal Council decision. “It is important that we can continue to ensure our regular operations,” says a canton’s police force. These days, it was particularly important to ensure a high level of objective and subjective security. “Even with increased patrols.”

Does each canton regulate the implementation of the corona measures on its own? At least yesterday, the conference of the cantonal judiciary and police directors said: At the national level, no corresponding recommendations are currently planned. However, the “extraordinary situation” now enacted would also allow the Federal Council to pass on the tariff in this area. (bzbasel.ch)

Covid Ordinance Federal Council (March 16, 2020)

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On Friday, the Federal Council ordered semi-consistent “social distancing” measures. Around which a large part of the population has fouted. A feast for the corona virus.

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