Coronavirus: Basel-Stadt tightens cantonal Covid-19-Ordinance
The Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt is tightening the cantonal Covid-19-Ordinance because of a sharp rise in the number of infections. Compulsory mask wearing is being extended to other publicly accessible indoor spaces, not just salerooms and shopping centres as is currently the case. And public and private events will be limited to a maximum of 50 people if neither the required distance can be maintained nor protective measures taken. In restaurants, including bars and clubs, as well as discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing, food and drink may only be consumed when seated. The new measures will enter into effect this coming Monday, 19 October 2020.
The increase in the number of cases across Switzerland, as well as in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, in recent weeks has given cause for concern. As of 15 October 2020, the Canton of Basel-Stadt had a value of 110 in the “14-day notification rate” (cases per 100,000 inhabitants). This is far higher than the value defined by the federal government of 60, according to which a country is put on the “risk list”. In order to slow this rise in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the Government has passed further measures, and amended the Ordinance on additional measures of the Canton of Basel-Stadt to combat the Covid-19 epidemic (Covid-19-Ordinance additional measures; SG 321.331).
Extension of compulsory mask-wearing
According to the currently applicable cantonal Covid-19-Ordinance, mask wearing is compulsory in all publicly accessible indoor spaces of salerooms and shopping centres. Staff must also currently also wear a face mask in publicly accessible indoor spaces of restaurants, including bars and clubs, as well as in discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing.
The regulation on compulsory mask wearing is now being extended to publicly accessible indoor spaces of other facilities and businesses such as restaurants, including bars and clubs, as well as discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing, museums, cinemas, theatres, reception and rest areas of sports and fitness centres, businesses offering personal services with physical contact such as hairdressing or massages, banks, post offices, railway stations, healthcare facilities such as hospitals and medical practices, care and nursing homes or places of worship. The conclusive list can be seen in full in the new paragraph 3 of the cantonal regulation. Public administration with publicly accessible indoor spaces with regular movement of people, namely reception and counter areas for customers, is also affected.
Compulsory mask wearing is also being extended for educational establishments (it has so far only applied to post-compulsory school sites). Compulsory mask wearing will now apply in principle for the sites and indoor spaces of schools and daycare facilities of primary and secondary I level. Masks are also compulsory for extracurricular use of school premises, for example by sport or music associations and carnival cliques, provided that it is compatible with the activities in question. Masks can be removed once people are inside classrooms or meeting rooms and can follow distancing regulations. Exemptions continue to apply to primary school and nursery pupils, as well as people who cannot wear face masks, e.g. for medical reasons.
Exemptions apply because of different conditions. For example, patrons of restaurants, including bars and clubs, as well as discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing, do not have to wear masks provided that they are consuming food or beverages while sitting at a table, neither do people who make appearances, such as speakers, artists, sportspersons or religious leaders.
Wearing a mask is generally recommended if it is not possible to keep the required distance or to take protective measures. Facilities and businesses that are not listed under paragraph 3 are obviously free to voluntarily introduce compulsory mask wearing.
New guidelines for restaurants
The Government has also passed new guidelines for restaurants and restrictions for public and private events. The number of patrons consuming food and beverages in a restaurant is limited to a maximum of 100 per room. Consumption of food and beverages in standing areas is now not permitted. The necessary distance must be maintained or special safety measures must be provided between groups of guests sitting at the tables. A restaurant can continue to operate different rooms with 100 people in each. A maximum of 300 people can be present at the same time in clubs, discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing. Patrons must now give their contact details in all restaurants, including bars and clubs, as well as in discotheques and cafés or restaurants with dancing.
Restrictions on public and private events
Public and private events in accordance with paragraph 6, at which neither the necessary distance can be maintained nor protective measures taken, may be attended by a maximum of 50 people, and guests must give their contact details.
The new cantonal guidelines do not apply to major events as, in accordance with Art. 6a of the national Covid-19-Ordinance Special Situation, the canton must give approval for events of this kind. The canton can revoke approvals or impose additional restrictions if the epidemiological situation deteriorates.
The amended cantonal ordinance will come into force on Monday, 19 October 2020. The new guidelines on compulsory mask wearing, for restaurants and public and private events will for the time being apply until 31 December 2020.