Additional emergency measures in connection with coronavirus

24/03/2020 (14:00)
Press release
Government

The Government has today passed further emergency measures in connection with coronavirus: Parking charges are being reduced and in some cases waived altogether. Communal charges are currently not being collected. Businesses in cantonal properties will be released from their obligation to pay rent for 5 weeks. Child daycare facilities are to receive additional financial contributions to compensate for the loss of parental contributions. Recipients of public contributions can deviate from the agreed payment arrangements to guarantee solvency. Lastly, the Government has resolved to freeze deadlines for cantonal administrative and objection proceedings, appeal proceedings in cantonal administrative court proceedings before the departments, the Government and in proceedings before the administrative and constitutional courts and the commissions of recourse. The freezing of deadlines also applies to gathering of signatures for petitions for initiatives and referendums. Both decisions concerning freezing of deadlines will be referred to the Parliament for subsequent approval.

The Government has today passed further emergency measures in connection with coronavirus:

Reduction and waiver of parking charges
People can temporarily park free of charge and without time restrictions in around 300 parking spaces in public areas (Zoo-Parkplatz, Egliseeparkplatz, General Guisan-Strasse, as well as car parks in the area surrounding Claraspital and Merian Iselin-Spital). Parking charges will generally be reduced to 1 franc per hour (day and night) in the multi-storey car parks Elisabethen, Steinen, Storchen and St. Jakob. City parking is primarily available to the hospitals. The Government is also lowering the price of visitor parking permits, purchased online and issued in connection with a dedicated licence plate number, to 5 francs per day and 3 francs per half day. These measures will apply from 26 March until 30 April 2020. Otherwise, normal parking regulations will continue to apply.

Many people who work in healthcare or in the retail trade live in the area around the city. Many of them rely on public transport because there are few alternatives. In the present situation, they must be able to count on it also being possible to practise social distancing on trams and buses. The new measures mean that commuters who are able to switch to their car should have no problem finding cheap or free parking spaces.

Communal charges
Communal charges will temporarily not be collected for pavement restaurants, advertising installations, goods displays, A-frame advertising stands and market stalls. A decision on what to do with the charges will be made at a later date. The Government is therefore specifically making concessions to city businesses that are experiencing difficulties.

Commercial tenants released from rent
Many commercial tenants of properties owned by the canton are being affected by closures. Throughout the duration of the closures, they will hardly be able to generate any income that they can use to pay rent, for example. For that reason, these commercial tenants and businesses are being released from rent for a duration of five weeks. The tenants concerned will receive information directly from the Basel-Stadt property department [Immobilien Basel-Stadt] in the next few days.

Support for child daycare facilities
The Government had already decided on 17 March 2020 that parents do not have to pay any parental contributions for the period in which they are not making use of childcare due to the current situation. The daycare facilities are now lacking crucial income. The Government is therefore asking the Department of Education and the Department of Finance to give higher priority to introducing an ordinance. The daycare facilities should be fully compensated for the lack of parental contributions, less compensation for third parties, for example for short-time working, and less reduced expenditure on material expenses that are not incurred, for the duration of the extraordinary situation.

The Government would like to thank all daycare facilities and childminders. They are currently being extremely flexible in offering additional childcare to hospital staff and to families where one parent has been called in to support the cantons in the hospitals, in logistics or in security, as part of the partial mobilization of the armed forces.

Relief for recipients of public contributions
The departments can deviate from the payment arrangements contractually agreed with recipients of public contributions for 2020, provided that this is absolutely necessary to guarantee the solvency of these recipients. This should tide them over any cash squeezes.

Even if public contribution recipients are currently unable to provide the services agreed to the full extent, they will continue to receive the public contributions at the amount assured.

Deadline freeze in cantonal administrative proceedings and in requests for initiatives and referendums
The Government has passed a freeze on deadlines for cantonal administrative and objection proceedings, appeal proceedings in cantonal administrative court proceedings before the departments, the Government and in proceedings before the administrative and constitutional courts and the commissions of recourse. Deadlines set by law or by the authorities will be frozen from 21 March 2020 until 19 April 2020. For deadlines set by number of days (e.g. a deadline of 20 days), the freeze means that the deadline will be frozen from 21 March 2020 until 19 April 2020; for deadlines set for a specific date (e.g. a deadline of 30 March 2020) an extension until 19 April 2020 will apply. The deadline freeze does not apply in proceedings concerning suspensory effect or safeguarding measures, in proceedings concerning protection of children or adults, in public procurement proceedings, in electoral and voting matters, in proceedings concerning law enforcement or in taxation proceedings. This decision is being presented to the Parliament for approval.

The Government has also passed a freeze on signature collection deadlines for initiatives and referendums. No actions with the aim of collecting signatures can be carried out until further notice. Deadlines for submitting lists of signatures for initiatives and deadlines for the Government and Parliament to attend to initiatives are both suspended. The deadline freeze will begin at cantonal level at 07:00 on Saturday, 21 March 2020. Furthermore, collecting signatures or making lists of signatures available is forbidden from 07:00 on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 until the end of the deadline freeze on 31 May 2020.

The deadline for collecting signatures for the current referendum against the approval of expenditure for the construction of dock 3 would normally have ended on 28 March. Since the deadline is frozen from 07:00 on 21 March in the canton – as at federal level – this is 8 days before expiry of the deadline for collection of signatures. The committee therefore still has eight days’ time to collect and submit signatures, after the deadline freeze has ended.

Both decisions concerning freezing of deadlines will be referred to the Parliament for subsequent approval.

Administrative services are still guaranteed
The authorities are still there for the residents. However, out of consideration for at-risk persons particularly affected by the virus who could be standing either in front of the counter as customers or behind the counter as cantonal staff, the Government has made the following regulation: The counters for all services that can only be provided physically are open. Where this is not the case, the administration can be consulted online or by telephone, etc. The best thing is for citizens to find out the opening times of the authority in question online or by telephone before visiting the authority.