The Zug Government Council is taking measures against the rising corona infections and is extending the mask requirement to all publicly accessible interior areas as of Thursday, 2 December. Masks are also mandatory in all school classes from primary level onwards.
The corona situation has deteriorated further in recent weeks. According to the press release of the Health Directorate, the canton of Zug has recorded the highest daily number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic and the hospital burden has also reached a worrying level. The Zug Government Council (Regierungsrat) has therefore decided to extend the mask requirement to all publicly accessible interiors as of Thursday, 2 December. "With this well-known and proven remedy, we hope to be able to stabilise the situation without having to restrict daily life too much," says Landammann Martin Pfister in the statement.
Mask requirement also applies in areas with certificate obligation
Masks are now mandatory in publicly accessible interiors In the canton of Zug, where it was previously been possible to dispense with them due to the certificate requirement. This includes, among others, the following facilities and events:
- Cultural institutions (museums, theatres, libraries, cinemas, etc.)
- Leisure and sports facilities (fitness centre, climbing halls, etc.)
- Indoor events (concerts, trade fairs, sports events, etc.)
- Restaurants, bars, clubs (except when sitting at the table)
The mask requirement applies to all persons over the age of twelve. The measure will enter into force on Thursday, 2 December 2021 and is initially limited to 20 February 2022 (end of the sports holidays). Other cantons, such as Schwyz, have limited the measures to the end of January. Martin Pfister adds: "Even if the figures can now be slowed down, a significant relaxation within 2 months cannot be assumed. That’s why the measures have been limited to 20 February – but the Government Council can, of course, also decide on further tightening or easing before that."
While other cantons are calling on employers to move to home office wherever possible, the canton of Zug has refrained from doing so. "The Government Council is of the opinion that the proposed measures can have a positive influence on developments. A home office obligation, if this became necessary, would be a further aggravating measure," adds the health director.
Exception for consumption while sitting in catering establishments
A special regulation applies to the guests of bars, clubs and restaurants: visitors are allowed to take off their masks in restaurants as soon as they sit at their table. Masks are mandatory for the staff of the catering establishments, without exception.
Compulsory masks in schools from primary level onwards
According to the announcement, the mask requirement will also be introduced for pupils and teachers in all school classes from primary level onwards. Students can then take off their mask when they are sitting at the desk. A large number of infections have been detected in educational institutions in recent weeks, so that in addition to the series tests, the mask requirement is also necessary again. "Our ultimate goal is still to maintain face-to-face teaching and for as few students as possible to have to quarantine," says Education Director Stephan Schleiss in the press release. The twice-weekly series tests will be continued in schools from the 4th grade onwards. If there are proven cases in the lower school levels, series tests will also be carried out there as part of the outbreak management.
Nursing homes implement strict measures
The mask requirement will also apply to those areas of nursing homes and hospitals that are accessible to visitors. In addition, nursing homes are already implementing strict measures to protect the residents, and can also adapt their protection concepts depending on the situation. The Directorate of Health has been in close contact with the nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic.
Thanks to the effective vaccination and the Covid certificate, vaccinated, recovered and tested people have been able to benefit from many freedoms in recent months. However, it has now become clear that the risk of infection is still not insignificant, especially indoors. "Infections can still occur when only vaccinated, recovered or tested people are present," says cantonal physician Rudolf Hauri. The additional mask obligation can help to reduce these transmissions, and is above all intended to relieve the burden on the health system.
Initial vaccination and boosters important for pandemic control
Vaccinated people can also become infected with the corona virus, although the course of the disease is then usually mild. "As before, the hospitals and intensive care beds are mostly occupied by unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated persons," says Rudolf Hauri. "5 of the 8 intensive care beds at the Zug Cantonal Hospital are currently occupied by Covid patients - all five of whom are unvaccinated," adds Health Director Martin Pfister on request. "The burden on the employees in the intensive care departments has been extremely high for months, and we must try to avoid even more intensive care patients at all costs." A transfer to hospitals in other cantons is still possible, but is questionable due to the development of the infection numbers. "It’s important that seriously ill or injured persons can still continue to be treated at a high quality level."
According to the cantonal doctor's assessment of the situation on Monday, 29 November, 91,000 initial vaccinations, 84,000 second vaccinations and 8,000 booster vaccinations were administered. Both the epidemiological situation and the contact tracing situation are regarded as threatening, and health care as critical.
It’s already possible for vaccinated persons whose last vaccination was more than six months ago to receive a booster vaccination in the canton of Zug. Registration for the initial and booster vaccinations is possible online (www.corona-impfung-zug.ch) or by telephone (041 531 48 00, daily from 9.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 18.00).
Series tests recommended for companies and organisations
From March of this year, it has been possible for companies and organisations in the canton of Zug to carry out repetitive series tests for their workforce. These tests are carried out via the IT platform "Together We Test" of Hirslanden AG, and the series tests are carried out with polled saliva samples. "The experiences with these series tests in recent months are very positive – they help to quickly identify infected people and prevent outbreaks," summarises Martin Pfister. All companies and organisations in the Canton of Zug are recommended to participate in these series tests – particularly as they involve no costs for the companies and organisations willing to test. Interested companies and organisations can register for repetitive tests at the e-mail address email@example.com.
Further information on repetitive tests in companies and organisations can be found on the cantonal Corona website.
"I understand the corona fatigue in society – we all want to get this pandemic behind us quickly. But we are once again at a critical juncture. I ask all Zug residents for their help and understanding: Remain cautious and get tested immediately if you have symptoms," concludes Martin Pfister.