Cham, 14.09.2021

Café Spatzentreff finally closes its doors - because of Corona

The Spatzentreff Café in Cham, which is popular with parents and children and is well known even beyond the region, is closing because the Covid certificate has now become mandatory. The operators see their operating policy violated by the new federal regulations.

Das isch hüt euse letschti Tag bi eus im Cafi. Schweren Herzens hämmer eus defür entschiedä abem Mäntig nümme ufztue”. (Today is your last day together with us in the café. With a heavy heart, we have decided to no longer open from Monday). The operators of the popular Spatzentreff café in Cham posted these words on their Facebook page on Friday morning.

The children's café in Cham opened in May 2017 opposite the Neudorf shopping centre. A little later, as a result of disputes with some of their neighbours, it was moved to the premises at Zugerstrasse 37, where there was once a pharmacy. From then onwards, the operators Mirja Bieri, Lucia Ulrich and Ruth Ulrich have invested a lot of heart and soul in their mother-and-child meeting place.

They are now closing forever, however, and justify this with the Covid certificate obligation that has been imposed from Monday by the Federal Council.

Das mier nümm alli Mänschä ab nächschti Wuche dörfded bi eus begrüessä, stimmt eus trurig und stimmt für eus nöd” (The fact that we will no longer be able to greet everyone from next week onwards makes us feel sad, and does not feel right to us).

This is the mesage on the Facebook page of the operators. Running a café under these conditions is no longer an option for the young women. When asked, Lucia Ulrich explains exactly what this means: "Our policy is that we don't want to exclude anyone. But that would be the case with the certificate, because many of the mums who come to us are not vaccinated."

The financial side is also an issue: "It’s no longer sustainable under these  conditions," write the women. As a result of the spread of the pandemic in Switzerland from spring 2020, they have been welcoming fewer customers to the café. And it now looks as if the main season will also now disappear, as Lucia Ulrich says: "We created financial reserves in the winter in order to be able to pay the rent – but paying any wages to the three of us, even if not always possible, has come to an end."

Although they received a one-time CHF 18,000 of Corona Aid from the canton of Zug, "that didn’t go very far". They are now talking with their landlord in order to find a solution for the rest of their contract, which will run until 2023.

Café Spatzentreff, a popular mother-and-child meeting place at Zugerstrasse 37 in Cham, closes for good on Monday                                                Reader photo
A picture from better days: The operators Ruth Ulrich (from left), Mirja Bieri and Lucia Ulrich at Café Spatzentreff when it opened in May 2017, at that time still opposite the Neudorf shopping centre.
                              Photo: Werner Schelbert

Closing the Spatzentreff café was not an easy decision. "We’ve found ourselves crying many times over the last three days," said Lucia Ulrich on Friday. The operators look back on a "marvellous time". A chapter in their lives is coming to an end, in which five children were added to their ‘Sparrow family’ (as the operators call themselves) within four years, with each employee having become pregnant at least once, but have nevertheless given their best for their customers despite being heavily pregnant.

Für eus alli echli euses zweitä deheimä. Ja s werd eus fählä. S Cafi werd eus fähle. Mier danked vo Herzä für die wunderbari Ziit.” (It has become a second home for us all. We’ll miss it. We’ll miss the café. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful time)

This is how the operators of the Spatzentreff said goodbye and thanked their loyal customers.

Guests react differently to the reason for the closure
The café in Cham was very well attended and appreciated, in particular by mothers with small children. One of them is Victoria Komorowski from Hünenberg:

"It's such a shame and so sad! It was such a great children's café, and was the only one of its kind in the canton of Zug."

The older children could have fun in the play landscape in the Spatzentreff, while a baby corner with all kinds of toys was set up for smaller ones. Mums and dads were able to network with other parents over a cup of coffee while the kids played with each other. Victoria Komorowski went there with her two-year-old son up to twice a month. "It's a great place, a childrens' paradise par excellence," she says. In addition, the soon-to-be mother of two finds:

"It's a shame that the little ones have to suffer from the crisis in this way."

Another important meeting place for children and parents will be lost with the closure.

Julia Stephan from Lucerne also regrets that the popular Spatzentreff is closing forever, although she can't quite understand the decision to close:
"Even though the (Covid) certificate requirement makes little sense in a place where there are mainly children, it would have been possible to apply it without too much effort," says the mother of two.

Katharina Heinrich also knows the café from pre-Corona times and regrets the closure. The mother of two has always found the concept to be unique – and has not found any comparable cafés in the area. "That's why I'm of course particularly sad that the doors are now being closed forever. But I would have felt much safer with a certificate requirement," says the young mother from the canton of Zug. "I think it's a great pity that this decision was made." Heinrich now hopes that a new operator who can met the certificate requirement will be found in the near future. "Then I'm sure I'll be happy to be a guest there again."

Jenny, who also lives in the canton of Zug, has a similar view. From the point of view of the mother of two, it’s a great pity that this café is now closing, and she’s grateful that the operators have put so much heart and soul into it. But:
"I think the certificate requirement is right, because the overload in the hospitals is real, and measures are needed against it. The freedom of the individual ends where the freedom of the other begins."

The café was not only a popular meeting place during opening hours, where parents could enjoy a break and the children could let off steam on the indoor play landscape. Among other things, it could be rented for birthday parties. Rentals will remain valid until September 19, according to the Facebook post.