The Covid-19 pandemic has placed Switzerland in a state of emergency. The hitherto unknown “SARS-CoV-2” coronavirus affects us all, from hairdressers to nursery school teachers to workers in the tourism industry. Seldom have the heroes of everyday life been brought into focus as much as in the current situation. The entire population has faced historic challenges.
Many federal authorities have used their .swiss portals to react swiftly to this situation, to disseminate information digitally and to make digitalised processes available.
At alert.swiss , since the beginning of March 2020 the population has been and is continuing to be supplied with official information and alerts from the federal and cantonal authorities, including about coronavirus. With the Alertswiss app (for iOS and Android)the notifications can be received directly on mobile phones and with the official Twitter account @Alertswiss to information from other authorities is retweeted.
In the “extraordinary situation” proclaimed by the Federal Council on 16 March, a considerable proportion of the Swiss economy was shut down. From one day to the next, employers and employees faced many questions about dealing with this situation.
For both employers and employees, the www.work.swiss website provides help and answers to the questions. One key issue is short-time employment compensation (furlough scheme): how temporary interruptions in employment can be cushioned and how jobs can be retained is explained in detail at work.swiss.
The online portal for businesses www.easygov.swiss represents quality and reliability on its own page created for the current situation: covid19.easygov.swiss. Up to 31 July, companies which encountered liquidity problems due to the lockdown were able to apply for so-called bridging loans (Covid-19 loans) via this website. In co-operation with financial institutions, in only six days the Department of Finance developed an impressive and internationally acknowledged loan system.
In just four steps, healthy businesses could receive a bridging loan of up to CHF 500,000 fully guaranteed by the Confederation. On the covid19.easygov.swiss website, a digital loan application had to be completed, printed out and signed. The document was then sent electronically or by post to the company’s bank. This slim line, extensively digitalised process and the involvement of the companies’ banks, which know their customers, usually made it possible to grant justified emergency loans in only 30 minutes.
It makes us proud that portals with a .swiss internet suffix have been used and are continuing to be used to save jobs and livelihoods and to and to widely disseminate important information from the authorities.