Hundreds demonstrate in Geneva over restrictions on business

Canton Geneva introduced a partial lockdown on November 2. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Nearly 600 people demonstrated on Thursday afternoon in Geneva at the behest of the association of café owners, restaurateurs and hoteliers. 

This content was published on November 19, 2020 - 18:04

The authorised rally was aimed at demanding the immediate reopening of all businesses despite current coronavirus restrictions. Canton Geneva introduced a partial lockdown on November 2. Bars, restaurants and non-essential shops have had to close. 

In a letter addressed to the authorities, the association said that the measures to close shops have had no impact on the survival of the virus. It called for the immediate lifting of the measures to close all shops.

According to the canton’s Department of Safety, Employment and Health, shops and restaurants, as well as customers, risk heavy fines in case of infringement. Since the start of the second partial lockdown at the beginning of November, 28 establishments have been sanctioned.

On Wednesday, the local government announced the reopening of hairdressing salons and beauty institutes from Saturday. However, non-essential shops, cafés and restaurants must wait. Geneva is the only canton where small shops are closed.

The aim of the government is to enable shopkeepers and restaurateurs to open before Christmas. Pushback against the closure of shops has been growing in Geneva for the past few days. An unauthorised demonstration on Saturday saw between 600 and 700 people gather to protest in the city centre.

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