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Cross-Border Workers and Coronavirus

Last edit: 19.03.2020

Following the measures taken by authorities to fight the COVID-19 epidemy and more specifically the states of emergency declared in Switzerland and in France, here is a collection of useful information for workers crossing the Swiss-French border.

Who can work and who cannot?

Swiss authorities have taken measures to stop the activity of many businesses, targeting those being accessible to the public.

You will find below the list of all activities forbidden until further notice and those that can continue to operarte (source: Federal Office of Public Health).

Forbidden Activities

  • Any store not listed in the authorized list below
  • Restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Markets
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Movie theaters
  • Concert halls
  • Theaters
  • Casinos
  • Sport centers, clubs and gyms
  • Swimming pools
  • Wellness centers
  • Ski resorts
  • Botanic gardens and zoos
  • Hairdressers, massages, beauty salons and tattoo studios
  • Erotic establishments
  • Mountain shelters

Authorized activities

  • Commercial businesses (offices, factories, workshops, etc.)
  • Construction sites (19.03.2020 edit: forbidden in Geneva starting 20.03.2020, partially forbidden in Vaud)
  • Hospitals, clinics, medical practices, physiotherapists, osteopaths, ergotherapists, nutritionists, midwifes, acupuncture, opticians, dentists, psychotherapists, homeopaths, podiatrists, Chinese medicine therapists, etc.
  • Drugstores, pharmacies and any other medical device store
  • Food stores, supermarkets, bakeries, butcher's shops
  • Kiosks
  • Gas stations
  • Take-aways, cantinas and food delivery services
  • Hotel restaurants
  • Hotels, motels, hostels
  • Post offices
  • Telecom operators outlets
  • Banks
  • Train stations and public transports
  • Vehicle maintenance and repaire services
  • Public administrations
  • Social institutions

The lists above are valid in Switzerland at least untile 19 April 2020.

Home Office

If you work for an employer that is authorized to continue its activity according to the lists above but your job can be performed from home, your employer shouldn't be able to refuse you to work from home and should even encourage you to do so as well as provide you with the necessary means to do so.

Source: Federal Office of Public Health

Borders and Traffic

Switzerland has restored border control with Italy on March 13, and with France and Germany on March 16.

For make this measure possible, many small border posts have been closed in order to focus customs resources on the main border crossings.

The full list of closed border posts can be found on the website of Swiss customs.

Map of open and closed border posts in the Geneva region:

Map of open and closed border posts in the Geneva region

Who can enter Switzerland?

  • People working in Switzerland
  • Swiss citizens
  • Holders of Swiss visas (permit B, C, G, etc.)
  • People in transit (going through Switzerland to go into another country)
  • Cargo traffic

Medical staff

Medical staff working in Switzerland can obtain from their employer a "Covid-19 priority pass" badge allowing them to use the priority lanes when crossing border posts.

  • Bardonnex border post: priority lane PL, on the right of the platform.
  • Thônex-Vallard border post: priority lane through carsharing lane, on the left of the platform.
  • 19.03.2020 update: Boncourt border post: fully reserved to medical staff

Which documents must I have with me?

For cross-border workers crossing the Swiss-French border to go to work, having with you your Swiss permit and an ID card is enough for the Swiss customs (source: State Secretariat for Migration).

If you are waiting to receive your new permit, have your employment contract with you.

Movement being forbidden in France, you must present the following documents to French police or customs officers in case of control to justify your trip (source: Ministère de l'intérieur):

  • You must fill and have with you your attestation de déplacement dérogatoire (link to PDF doc)
  • Your employer must fill and give you a justificatif de déplacement professionnel (link to PDF doc)

Salary

If your employer makes you work from home, you will continue getting your salary normally.

If no home office is possible but your employer still makes you stay at home, you will continue getting your salary normally.

If your employer has suspended your activity, he must continue paying you at least 80% of your salary. Many employers pay the remaining 20% to avoid impacting their employees.

More info on the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs website

Sick Leave

If you caught the coronavirus or any other disease justifying a sick leave, you will continue getting your salary and allowances according to the Swiss Code of Obligations and your employer's loss of earnings insurance.

Don't forget that you must immediately inform your employer if you are sick.

Childcare

If you couldn't find a solution to take care of your children following the closures of schools and that you must stay at home to take care of them, you must inform your employer and you will continue getting your salary and allowances according to the Swiss Code of Obligations and your employer's loss of earnings insurance.

Public Transports

Swiss public transports continue operating, although many restrictions and cuts have been announced. It is strongly recommanded to avoid taking public transports in any case, especially during rush hour, considering that they are a favorable place for contamination.

Purely touristic transport lines are suspended.

More info on the Swiss Railways website

More info on the Léman Express website

More info on the CGN website

Public and Private Events

In face of the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases on its territory, Swiss government has forbidden any public and private event until further notice, including sport events and events from associations, with an exception made for funeral services restricted to families.


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