GENEVA: Bars and restaurants in Geneva reopened on Thursday (Dec 10) after a month of lockdown due to coronavirus, but businesses and customers decried Swiss government plans to impose a nationwide closure from 7pm through Jan 20.
Switzerland reported 5,041 new daily cases, including 87 deaths, as the pandemic rises in German-speaking cantons in the east while ebbing in French-speaking western cantons including Geneva.
Swiss federal authorities are expected to announce on Friday that bars, cafes and restaurants must close from 7pm for more than a month to stem the spread of the virus. Ski resorts that remain open are to be exempted.
"The infection rate decreased in French-speaking regions and it increased in German-speaking regions and it is true it's not quite fair that we have to pay for each other," Antoine Remor, manager of Geneva's Le Remor restaurant, told Reuters Television.
"Because, on the contrary, when we were under lockdown, the Swiss German-speaking region were not at all under lockdown."
Laurent Terlinchamp, president of the Geneva bar, restaurants and hotel society representing more than 1,500 businesses, said: "I think we have passed the point of no return and today we enter a totally unknown world.
"We have been knocked sideways, the justified claims that we have made were not heard, at least not at the level we would have imagined. And every time the health crisis hits, the only answer we have is shutting down the economy."
Patrick Gonthier, a customer enjoying his first lunch at Le Remor after cantonal restrictions were lifted on Thursday, bemoaned the looming federal measures.
"I think it is not justified as shops are open where we could get infected by COVID more easily, but we forbid restaurant owners to work," he said.
"At one point, either we do everything, or we do nothing. In this case, I think we need to do everything, otherwise, we really won’t have any economy left."