Swiss cross-border shoppers fined for not wearing masks in Germany

Swiss cross-border shoppers have fallen foul of compulsory mask requirements when crossing the border to shop in Germany.

Swiss cross-border shoppers fined for not wearing masks in Germany
A police control sign on the German border. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

Since June 15th, crossing the Swiss border to go shopping has again been allowed. 

Unlike in Switzerland, where masks are merely recommended, masks are required in supermarkets and retail stores – along with public transport – in all German states. 

With thousands of Swiss again crossing the border to shop, German authorities have increased patrols and handing out more fines to make sure everyone is complying with the mask requirement, regardless of where they live. 

As reported in the Südkurier, authorities in southern Germany have complained about Swiss shoppers’ refusal to wear masks. 

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for wearing masks in Switzerland?

Mayor Thomas Schaüble wrote to retailers in several municipalities in the Waldshut region to encourage them to enforce compliance.

The mayor said Swiss shoppers were causing a “more and more heated mood” by refusing to wear masks. 

Many border regions in Germany, France and Italy are heavily reliant on Swiss customers and have taken a hit during the border closures as a result of the pandemic. 

People wearing masks in a German supermarket. Photo: MICHAEL SOHN / POOL / AFP


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Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.