Swiss President Guy Parmelin, right, speaks next to Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset during a press conference on February 24 in Bern, Switzerland.
Swiss President Guy Parmelin, right, speaks next to Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset during a press conference on February 24 in Bern, Switzerland. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland will move forward with a phased reopening of its economy and society which will see some coronavirus restrictions lifted on March 1, the Swiss federal government announced during a news conference Wednesday.

All shops in Switzerland will reopen on March 1, with restrictions limiting the number of customers. Museums, libraries, zoological and botanical gardens, sports, and outdoor leisure facilities will also reopen. Most sporting and cultural activities for people under 20 will also resume.

People in Switzerland will also get the green-light to meet outdoors in groups of more than 15 people beginning March 1. Swiss President Guy Parmelin said outdoor dining could resume on March 22 rather than the previously planned date of April 1, if the situation permits. 

Restaurants in Switzerland have been closed since Dec. 22, with non-essential shops shuttered since Jan. 18. 

Parmelin said the gradual reopening will be “a source of dissatisfaction for some,” adding that while the “impatience that some people have is understandable,” the situation in Switzerland “remains very fragile due to new variants of the virus which continue to progress.

The Swiss government said it would reassess the situation on March 12. 

Alain Berset, a member of the Swiss Federal Council, tweeted Wednesday that the government has taken “a calculated risk: for society, for the economy and especially for young people, particularly touched by this crisis.”

On Wednesday, at least 1,343 new coronavirus cases were recorded by the Federal Office for Public Health.

Switzerland has recorded at least 552,698 coronavirus cases and at least 9,256 deaths since the pandemic began.

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