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Covid-19: Zurich schools extend mask mandate

Zurich authorities have extended the mask mandate for schools until the end of February.

A student wearing a mask standing outside a school building
Zurich has extended the mask rules in schools until the end of February. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On Tuesday, January 18th, Zurich authorities extended the school mask mandate until February 27th. 

The government presumes the number of infections will continue to rise in the canton in the coming weeks and wanted to take appropriate steps to ensure teachers, children and their families are as safe as possible. 

Infection rates have continued to climb in Switzerland in recent weeks, with new records being set almost daily. 

Daily infections crossed the 20,000 mark for the first time in early January 2022, before crossing 30,000 in a 24-hour period several times later in the month. 

On January 11th, Zurich authorities warned of 40,000 infections in the canton alone in late January. 

‘40,000 cases daily in Zurich’ as authorities warn of triage for the unvaccinated

What are the current rules for masks in Zurich schools? 

All teachers and support staff in the canton of Zurich are required to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Students must also wear masks from the first primary class and above. 

Each school in Zurich, Switzerland’s most populous canton, is required to have its own hygiene and safety concept which lays out exactly how students will be protected from Covid. 

The rules are laid out here by the Zurich Cantonal Government. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Reader question: Do flights to and from Switzerland require face masks?

Face masks to curb the spread of Covid have been largely phased out in Switzerland, although they are still required on some international flights. Here’s what you need to know.

Reader question: Do flights to and from Switzerland require face masks?

Just over two years after the pandemic, the requirement to wear a Covid mask disappeared in Switzerland, almost as quickly as it was put in place. 

Masks had been compulsory in indoor public spaces in Switzerland since October 29th, 2020 until February 17th of this year, when the mask requirement was lifted except for public transport and health establishments.

And from April 1st, masks don’t have to be worn in any publicly-accessible places.

Travel

As travellers would be aware, Switzerland’s relaxed attitude to masks and other Covid measures is not replicated everywhere, with masks required on trains and on planes heading outside of Switzerland despite the April 1st change. 

Rules were however further relaxed at a European level in May. 

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

READ MORE: Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

While Switzerland is not an EU member, it is surrounded by EU countries and frequently takes part in EU alliances. 

What is the current rule as at end of May, 2022? 

At present, while rules have been relaxed at a European level, countries are free to put them in place domestically where they see fit. 

In that case, the rules of the destination country must be followed on flights. 

As Switzerland does not require masks, Swiss-bound flights will not have a mask mandate in place. 

Flying outward from Switzerland however may be different, depending on the rules in place in your destination country. 

On May 24th, Swiss news outlet Blick reported that Swiss airlines had not been asking passengers to wear masks on flights to Germany, despite Germany having a mask mandate in place. 

The German Infection Protection Act requires masks on all flights that land in Germany and is in place until September 23rd. 

Flights to France do not require masks, although flights to common tourist destinations like Spain and Greece will have mask rules in place. 

Italy, another popular holiday destination, requires FFP2 masks to be worn until June 15th at the earliest. 

Individual airlines also often have rules for masks in place. While Ryan Air has dropped most mask rules (other than those put in place by national regulatory systems), Easy Jet still requires masks on most journeys. 

Occasionally, individual airports can also have certain rules in place, so be sure to prepare for all possibilities and contact your airline for greater clarity.  

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