Assess and triage (resilience phase)

Switzerland has suffered 238 deaths per million inhabitants, ranking it the 27th hardest hit country in the world out of 150 countries recorded as of 16th September.1

Fiscal policy:2

  • On April 29, the FC announced CHF1.9 billion credit support to airlines and aviation-related businesses.
  • The take-up of bridge loans under the federal guarantee program, which expired on July 31 (the program for startups will expire at the end of August), and assistance to self-employed, which will expire on September 16, has been lower than budgeted.

Stabilize and emerge (recovery phase)

Travel restrictions:2

  • On July 1, following a similar decision by the EU, Switzerland decided to reopen its borders to 13 non-EU countries and 5 EU countries outside the Schengen area from 20th July 2020.
  • In view of the increasing volume of people travelling and the rising number of new infections since mid-June, Switzerland decided on July 1 to make masks compulsory on all public transport from July 6 and on all flights taking off or landing in Switzerland from 15th August 2020.

Economic recovery:2

  • Government focus has shifted from a lifeline to the economy to fine-tuning and continuity as the country transitions back to a normal situation
  • Ordinances issued during the emergency will now not automatically expire after six months and a series of extensions to existing measures lasting through well into 2021 was announced on July 1.
  • On August 12, the government announced CHF400 million financial support to air traffic control company Skyguide in 2020-21.
  • On August 26, the government extended the legal standstill for travel agencies and the simplified regulation for unemployment insurance to the end of 2020

School is as school was:3

  • In Switzerland, children returned to school on 11th May, meaning it is not experiencing the same national ‘back to school’ anxiety that other countries are.
  • Measures were taken, such as alternating cohorts (i.e. half the pupils one day and half the next) and extended distance learning.
  • The country may provide a role model for others, as the number of cases and deaths in fact levelled off after schools returned, perhaps suggesting the additional proximity is unlikely to result in further outbreak.

Adapt and rethink (new reality)

A private blockchain for digital trust:4

  • Citizens of the canton of Jura now have access to an “environment client” through which personal documents can be exchanged with the administration.
  • As part of the “Digital Confidence Vision”, the first goal of this project is to propose innovative solutions that enable citizens to have complete sovereignty over their data and their digital interactions with the state.
  • Likewise, the state will at any time be in a position to prove the integrity of the data for which it is responsible or which is in its custody and give the population the opportunity to check this via several services independently of the state.
  • The second goal of the project is to ensure the integrity and origin of the certificates issued by the state, even if the certificate is printed out by a citizen.

E-participation projects:4

  • Democracy, a form of government that has existed since the days of ancient Greece, is undergoing a major leap forward with the concept of ‘e-participation’, heavily backed by the UN, which has a dedicated index, against which it measures countries’ ability and success in using communication-based technologies to involve citizens in policy creation and government decision-making on a scale hitherto impossible.
  • In Geneva, citizens have been taking part in online surveys and workshops to enhance government decision making through a dedicated online portal with enhanced data privacy.
  • In St.Gallen, the new Planning and Building Act (PBG) states that citizens must be able to participate in issuing and changing plans for the official use and day-to-day usage of new buildings. One sub-region is already developing a dedicated portal for this purpose.
  • Combining e-participation with Smart Cities, one city has created a platform to allow citizens to participate in local-government decisions, such as the placement and layout of car parks and leisure facilities, and to take part in (and stay informed about) their implementation.
  • In Zurich's Wipkingen district, a pilot is underway for citizens to take part in budget allocation: citizens can enter ideas for their neighborhood and budget is distributed to the most popular ones. The process integrates online and offline formats.