Less Strict Rules for Swiss Cross-border Shoppers in Germany

Less Strict Rules for Swiss Cross-border Shoppers in Germany

18 May 2021

Not only cross-border workers are popular in Switzerland, but also cross-border shoppers – and as shopping tourism was halted by the lockdown, now rules in Germany are being eased especially for Swiss consumers.


Good Euro exchange rate favourable for Cross-border activities

                Cross-border activities are well known on Swiss borders. Cross-border workers are very strong workforce and also cross-border shopping tourism takes place a lot, as many Swiss go for goods or food to neighbouring countries which has lower prices. With very expensive cost of living in Switzerland and low Euro Franc exchange rate, making shopping in Germany, France or Italy can be quite economic. In times of the pandemic for some time crossing the border to make shopping, which is considered a non-essential reason, was not allowed. Especially in Germany, in neighbouring with Switzerland state of Baden-Württemberg very strict restrictions were in place since December, when border was shut to prevent shopping tourism. For violations of this rule fine of up to 3,000 euros was prevised (as per average exchange rate EUR/CHF around 3,280 francs now). Now, cross-border shoppers, as cross-border workers, can come back to their activities, but some rules are still required to be obeyed to.


New Rules to Enter Germany

                On April 21st, Germany eased its restrictions of entry to the country for Swiss residents. Fully vaccinated Swiss citizens can cross the border to make shopping without a need to quarantine. Also, those who have contracted coronavirus between 21 days and three months prior to crossing the border can go shopping to Germany. A negative PCR test was still required to enter Germany for some time, but now this condition was also finally lifted. Currently, without quarantine and test Swiss residents can go shopping to Germany or stay up to 24 hours. However, if one exceeds the time limit, he or she must obey to the quarantine obligation and violating such rules is fined up to 1,000 euros (around 1,1000 Swiss francs).


Shops in Germany

                Is there actually any sense in crossing the border to make shopping nowadays? Are shops opened in Germany? Non-essential shops are still closed, just like they were in Switzerland before March 1st. But Baden-Württemberg state, the one sharing border with Switzerland and thus to which most of cross-border shoppers travel for purchases, offers special service called Click and Meet. Customers can make appointment at fixed slot time and visit shop for purchases. Just that no more than one customer per 40 square metres may be present at the same time and everyone, including customers and employees, must wear a medical mask. Several people can make an appointment together.


Shopping in France

                When it comes to other neighbouring with Switzerland country, France, which is very popular destination of cross-border shoppers and an origin country of cross-border workers, Swiss residents living up to 30 kilometres from the border can go shopping to France freely. No negative test nor quarantine is required. Only for staying longer than 24 hours, a negative PCR Covid test is required.  


Shopping in Italy

                Italien hat kürzlich den EU-Bürgern und Schengen-Bürgern die Einreise erleichtert. Im Moment gibt es keine Quarantäne bei der Einreise nach Italien. Für Touristen ist nur ein negativer Test erforderlich. Zusätzlich sind alle an die Schweiz angrenzenden Regionen gelbe Zonen mit einem moderaten Corona-Risiko.