COVID-19: AFBS Update II - March 2020

20.3.2020

The Swiss government on Friday announced more measures in response to the coronavirus crisis, including a countrywide ban on gatherings of more than five people in public spaces and an additional economic package to help the economy.

Press Conference Federal Council 20.03.2020

On 20.3.2020 the Federal Council prohibits gatherings of more than five persons in public spaces. Violations will be punished with administrative fines. An additional economic package of CHF 32bn to help the economy would be made available for those affected by the coronavirus, bringing the total available to 40bn. The new package provides CHF 20bn for companies with liquidity problems to obtain transitional bank loans. Also, companies and self-employed persons with falling turnovers will be allowed to defer payment of social insurance contributions, Federal Tax and VAT temporarily and without interest. The Federal Council will define the details of the programme in an emergency ordinance within the next days. The measures are to be put in place from midnight on 20.3.2020.

Info: Press release Federal Council DE FR IT // About the economic package DE FR IT

Latest developments

18.3.2020: The Swiss government has decided to suspend debt collection procedures until 4.4.2020. During this period, no debt proceedings can be launched: DE FR IT

18.3.2020: The Swiss government has introduced border controls and restrictions on entry. Persons from Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and non-Schengen countries are no longer allowed to enter; exceptions apply to Swiss nationals, resident permit holders, travellers for professional reasons. No visas will be issued. Transit and goods traffic are still permitted. Info: DE FR IT

17.3.2020: The Federal Council issued a recommendation for all residents to stay at home, especially the sick and people 65 or older. Exceptions apply for work if home-office is impossible; for health reasons (doctor and pharmacy); assistance of persons in need; purchase of food and essential household supplies.

16.3.2020: The Federal Council declared an extraordinary situation due to coronavirus, instituting a ban on all private and public events and closing places such as restaurants and bars in a bid to harmonise the situation across the country. Schools are closed nationwide. The measures are in force until April 19.

16.3.2020: The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA requested that Swiss travellers return to the country quickly. In order to better assist those who are still blocked abroad, they should register on the Travel Admin App. Info: EN DE FR IT

Swiss nationals living abroad cannot claim the right to an organised departure from a crisis area. The FDFA crisis management centre provides Swiss nationals abroad assistance to the extent possible. Info: EN DE FR IT

Swiss Bankers Association

  • The Swiss Bankers Association on the economic aid package in detail in DE and FR
  • The SBA has set up a dedicated webpage on the current situation in Switzerland: DE and FR

SECO: Impact on the Swiss Economy

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and Economiesuisse are conducting a survey among Swiss firms to understand the impact of the present situation around Coronavirus. The survey can be completed online and is available in two languages. It is expected to be repeated in regular intervals; input shall assist the government in deciding on measures to ease the burden on the Swiss economy. Info: Survey in DE and FR

FINMA

The FINMA estimates that financial institutions are well-prepared for the current situation. It expects the distribution policy to be prudent to preserve liquidity for potential stress situations. The FINMA will apply regulation regarding supervision of trading so as to allow home-office; it will extend deadlines for filing data on trading. The FINMA further draws attention to an increase of malware attacks attempting to exploit current insecurity. Info: EN DE FR IT

SNB: Negative Interest Exemption Threshold

The Swiss National Bank SNB states that the Swiss financial system has sufficient liquidity. Nevertheless, it intends to take additional steps to ensure liquidity as necessary and therefore maintains the interest rate on sight deposits at -0.75%. To assist banks the SNB raises the exemption threshold per 1.4.2020 (multiplier passing from 25 to 30) thus reducing the burden on the banking system. Info: EN DE FR IT

Federal Department of Finance

The Federal Department of Finance confirmed that it will take into account the specific situation when processing the first group requests under the US-CH double taxation treaty.

Measures to Assist Firms in Stress

The Federal and Cantonal authorities adopted measures to assist firms in stress. This regards in particular firms of the producing sector and those facing stress due to lockup decision. Each canton has adopted its own measures.

For information contact either the SECO or the competent cantonal authorities.

SECO: DE FR IT

Cantonal Authorities: ZH Link // BE Link // LU Link // SZ Link // NW Link // OW Link // GL Link // ZG Link // FR Link I und Link II // BS Link // BL Link // AR Link // AI Link // SG Link // GR Link // AG Link // SO Link // TG Link // TI Link // VD Link // NE Link // GE Link // JU Link

European Union

The EU has entitles individual member countries to adopt measures to assist economy and industry to overcome the coronavirus stress situation. It confirms that states are entitled to adopt extensive measures including tax breaks and suspension of payment of social contributions and assist companies in stressed liquidity situation. It allows exceptional spending by governments and more generous fiscal policy and suggests investments for short-time work and re-skilling of employees. Info: Link