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No cap limit as Switzerland clears return of major shows

The Swiss live music industry finally has a date for the return of events with more than 1,000 people, paving the way for a return to “something like normality” in 2021

By IQ on 13 Aug 2020

Switzerland's health minister Alain Berset addresses media on 12 August

Swiss health minister Alain Berset addresses media


image © Der Schweizerische Bundesrat

Events with more than 1,000 people will once again be permitted in Switzerland from 1 October, the country’s governing Federal Council has announced.

The ban on “major” events (ie those with a capacity of over 1,000) – originally introduced in late February and extended in April – was due to expire on 31 August but will be extended another month, until the end of September, after which large-scale live events may return, councillors Simonetta Sommaruga, Alain Berset and Guy Parmelin announced in a press briefing yesterday (12 August).

The reopening of Europe’s eighth-largest live music market “takes into account [Switzerland’s] social needs, for example for a diverse cultural life”, as well as “economic interests”, according to a government statement – though the council says it is keen to “ensure that the epidemiological situation does not deteriorate” as restrictions are loosened.

All major events will need to approved by the governments of Switzerland’s 26 semi-autonomous member states, the cantons, which are urged to take into account infection rates locally, as well as their contract-tracing capabilities.

“We need personal responsibility now more than ever”

Events will also be subject to unspecified “strict protective measures”. The Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) is tasked with working alongside the cantons to draw up uniform guidelines for approving major events by 2 September.

Berset , head of the FDHA, said: “We need personal responsibility now more than ever. The federal government will now work out the exact conditions for the approval of major events, together with the cantons.”

Stefan Breitenmoser, managing director of the Swiss Music Promoters’ Association (SMPA), welcomes the relaxation of the restrictions – but says the industry urgently needs to know what the “strict protective measures” will look like in order to begin planning for a return to business.

Speaking to news agency Keystone-SDA, Breitenmoser adds: “Something like normality will only occur in our industry towards the middle, or even the end, of 2021.”

As of 12 August, Switzerland had 274 daily cases of Covid-19, with 2,478 Swiss currently ill with the virus.

 


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