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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday

Will Basel’s traditional Fasnacht procession be postponed until June? Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Will Basel’s traditional Fasnacht procession be postponed until June? Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Swiss businesses prepare for staff shortages

As many infected employees are in quarantine, with others possibly ending up confined as well if they test positive to the virus, companies from system-critical areas such as food supply, telecommunications and transport are setting up contingency plans.

While the railway operations as well as the personnel resources are currently stable, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) are preparing for different scenarios to be put in place if needed.

SBB is ensuring trains are running despite staff shortage. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss Post is also getting ready for major staff absences and will activate its internal job exchange in order to deploy employees from other departments or temporary workers. And as a last resort, the Post could rely on the help of civil defense.

Business circles have been calling for shorter quarantines,  fearing the collapse of the country’s essential infrastructure if an increasing number of people is confined. Most cantons have shortened their quarantines from 10 to seven days.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Most Swiss cantons shorten their quarantine requirements

Petition calls for the Basel carnival in the summer

The opening parade of the Basel carnival — the Fasnacht — which was to be held on March 7th, was cancelled due to Covid. 

However, as the traditional procession — featuring thousands of costumed drummers and piccolo players — is considered the main attraction of Switzerland’s famous end-of-winter-carnival, a concerned city resident has launched a petition to postpone the entire event until June.

Pia Inderbitzin, the chairperson of the Basel Carnival Committee rejected this idea, arguing that that carnival “marks the end of winter” and a summer event instead doesn’t make sense.

However, district president Beat Jans said that the new date proposed in the petition  “should be examined”, especially as Basel authorities are debating cancelling the Carnival altogether.

Weather forecast: it will finally get colder

The end of the old year and beginning of the new were unseasonably warm, with temperatures in many parts of Switzerland reaching double-digits.

However, this spring-like spell is about to be broken, according to Klaus Marquardt, a meteorologist from Meteonews.

Today, winds of up to 70 km / hour will blow in the mountains. On Wednesday, a cold front is expected to move across Switzerland, bringing snow to some regions.

“It’s going to be a more ‘normal’, seasonal weather but it won’t be deep winter”, Marquardt said.

Swiss prefer physical shops for most everyday goods

Online commerce has been competing with on-site shopping, especially during the pandemic, but the Swiss remain attached to in-store purchases, according to a survey by the Swiss Retail Federation.

For food purchases and everyday items, the proportion of respondents shopping online is only 2 percent, while 84 percent say they go “mainly” to supermarkets.

For medications, 77 percent prefer physical stores, as do 73 percent of people shopping for gardening supplies, 61 percent for cosmetics, and 58 percent for pet products.

However, the trend of food purchases on the internet has experienced strong growth in recent years. It has been driven not only by the pandemic, but also by the appearance of express deliveries.

For sporting goods, clothing and furniture, however, the proportion of customers who buy primarily in stores has now fallen below 50 percent.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


Member comments

  1. Shopping for sporting goods, clothing and furniture has fallen by 50%
    Why? Covid.
    Who is responsible for covid? Omerta.

  2. How come that TheLocal has not reported about Marc Walder, the CEO Ringier Media Group, and his statements about that his newspapers should support the government? As a foreigner, I feel this explains a lot about what has been going on with the Swiss media narrative around restrictions.

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