Residents of Switzerland will soon enjoy expedited easing of many coronavirus lockdown rules, according to a surprise announcement by the Swiss government.
Officials cited the 'success' of lockdown protocols as a primary reason for relaxing rules at a quicker pace.
Strict guidelines will apply to eating establishments - only four guests will be allowed at a table (or parents and their children), all guests must be seated, and a two-meter separation between tables is mandatory.
Interior Minister Alain Berset said allowing pubs and restaurants to welcome guests sooner than expected provides a "a good way to learn to live with the virus."
While primary and middle schools were already slated to reopen on May 11, gyms, pools, and museums will also be allowed to do so.
Public transportation will resume normal operations, and border controls will be loosened gradually, specifically for some foreign workers and family members of Swiss citizens and legal residents.
Large events of more than 1,000 people, such as concerts and festivals, will still be banned. Some sporting events and professional team training can again take place, albeit without spectators.
"We will have to live with the virus for a while," said President Simonetta Sommaruga. "We have achieved a lot. We don't want to endanger that."
Despite Switzerland recording one of the highest per-capita rates of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, Swiss officials have opted to take a less draconian approach to lockdown measures than their counterparts in neighboring countries, most notably refusing to issue mandatory 'shelter-at-home' orders to the population.
Switzerland officially declared a national state of emergency due to the spread of coronavirus on March 16.
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(PHOTO: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst