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While much of Switzerland is preparing for more stringent confinement restrictions due to COVID-19As the French-speaking regions of the country go in the other direction, allowing restaurants to reopen Thursday after a drop in cases from one of the world’s highest infection rates about a month ago.

The authorities of five cantons or regions of the cities of Geneva and Lausanne are allowing the reopening of restaurants, under strict conditions. But federal authorities have said new restrictions could be ordered nationwide on Friday and begin this weekend, leaving restaurateurs and their restaurants in limbo and not knowing what rules to follow in the coming days.

A waiter wearing a face protection mask serves food at La Bavaria restaurant during its reopening lunch after a five-week closure in Lausanne, Switzerland. (AP)

“We understand that the canton says that the opening will be on the 10th, but they also tell us that on the 11th there may be new restrictive measures from the 12th … all this is creating confusion,” said Mauro Poggia, a member of the Geneva regional council for safety, health and employment.

In an interview in his office, Poggia said the easing of the closure measures was a “relief”, but acknowledged: “We know that the third wave is ahead.”

Joao Tavares, owner of the Carnivore restaurant in Geneva’s old town, lamented: “We can open, we can’t … We have been told that maybe we can open two days, but maybe not.”

“Today we are here for the clients and really happy to be there for them. Everything is ready, but we don’t know if tomorrow we will have to close.”

In late October and early November, the Geneva region of about 500,000 that is home to the headquarters of the World Health Organization recorded more than 1,000 new cases a day on seven separate days.

A waiter wearing a face protection mask serves food at La Bavaria restaurant during its reopening lunch after a five-week closure in Lausanne, Switzerland. (AP)

On November 1, with the main university hospital complex flooded with new cases of COVID-19, Geneva ordered the closure of restaurants.

Now, the region has generally been registering 100 to 200 cases in the past two weeks, hitting 51 on Dec. 6, the lowest one-day count in two months.

The big improvement has not been seen anywhere else in Switzerland, where the number of cases remains high and, in some cases, continues to rise.

The federal government, in an attempt to unify antivirus rules in its 26 cantons, this week proposed a set of nationwide regulations that would include closing stores, restaurants, gyms and other businesses open to the public at 7 p.m. every day and all. the day. Sundays.

Swiss authorities have tried to strike a balance between stricter anti-COVID measures in neighboring countries such as France, Germany and Italy, hoping to limit the economic consequences and rely on individual responsibility through physical distancing, hygiene of the hands and other preventive measures.


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