Daily life in Geneva in the time of Covid-19
From refuse through sports or leisure activities to shopping, discover all our advice for organising your daily life during the pandemic. A list of contacts and resources for obtaining assistance in a range of different domains is also available.
The City of Geneva has developed and selected a series of activities for you to do at home during confinement. Physical exercises for every age, creative activities, online exhibitions and visits, podcasts and many other ideas await you!
- How to stay at home: a selection of ideas and virtual resources to learn and entertain yourself at home.
- Culture at the click of a mouse: several museums and historical sites offer the public the chance to view online collections or enjoy virtual visits… from the comfort of your own sofa!
- Keep fit at home: discover our selection of tools and resources enabling you to do sport at home so that you stay fit and keep your spirits up.
- Keep listening: from audio books through radio shows to podcasts: discover our selection of resources that help you learn or keep you entertained without needing a screen!
- How to organise your days with children at home: discover a selection of ideas and resources to keep your children busy at home and enjoy some pleasant moments together.
Questions relating to COVID-19
From hygiene and behaviour recommendations to toll-free hotlines; find all the relevant information on the “New coronavirus: how to protect yourself” page.
Assistance for senior citizens
Meal deliveries, help with shopping or regular contact by phone: discover all the services provided by the City or its partner associations to support senior citizens during the health crisis. A toll-free number has also been set up for senior citizens requiring tangible assistance: 0800 22 55 11 (from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Social emergency solidarity
The City of Geneva has set up a social emergency solidarity hotline social emergency solidarity hotline to deal with the numerous requests from the public for information or social guidance during the health crisis concerning food distribution sites, food shopping, purchasing medicines, emergency shelter, social and financial aid services or taxes. People in need of assistance or guidance can call 0800 44 77 00, from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Financial difficulties, family issues and general assistance
Initiatives launched by municipalities, semi-public organisations and the civil society: during the epidemic, several institutions in Geneva are taking action to meet the population’s needs.
Advice of the Federal Office of Public Health to take care of your health and obtain assistance in the event of problems.
The Collectif d’Associations pour l’action sociale (CAPAS) provides up-to-date information relating to its member associations.
- The Partage food bank, the Colis du Cœur associations and the Centre social protestant have come together to form a task force with a view to distributing food vouchers to people or families living in a precarious situation. To request emergency food aid from the Colis du Cœur, find out what to do on the Colis du Coeur website.
- The Caravane de Solidarité organises distributions of food parcels. Up-to-date information is available in several languages on its Facebook page.
- The Café Cornavin association distributes food parcels on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
- The Epiceries Caritas provide people living in precarious situations with food and essential products at reduced prices.
- The Geaide website lists the services provided by the City of Geneva and by free emergency aid associations operating in Geneva.
The Vestiaire social can be contacted in emergencies or by appointment.
In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the network dealing with situations of domestic violence is still operational. Partial confinement increases the risks: victims and witnesses can find useful resources on the Canton of Geneva website.
You can also call the cantonal domestic violence hotline anonymously on 0840 110 110 (anonymous call, 24 hours a day)
Mental health, stress, anxiety and solitude
- Canton of Geneva toll-free number: 0800 909 400
- HUG psychiatric emergencies: 022 372 38 62
- La Main Tendue (outreach): 143
- The Pro Mente Sana psychosocial hotline: 0840 000 062
- Pro Juventute emergency number for children and teenagers: 147
- Pro Juventute advice for parents: 058 261 61 61
Aid for companies, organisations and associations
Different aid and support mechanisms have been set up by the City of Geneva, intended for companies and organisations in the sporting and cultural spheres:
- Support for commercial activities affected by the health crisis
- Support measures for sport
- Support for organisations active in the cultural sphere in Geneva
The State of Geneva website provides companies with a range of instruments enabling them to obtain prompt information concerning the support measures available to them:
- A chatbot to help you with your requests for support;
- A call centre dedicated exclusively to companies: 022 388 34 34 (Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to midday and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.);
- A booklet explaining the different measures intended for companies in Geneva.
Alcohol, online gambling and other addictions
The website of the FOPH lists a number of contact points for questions or problems relating to addictions.
Markets and food
Despite the suspension of all markets, which are major meeting points, since March 16 in accordance with the Federal Council ordinance, isolated food stands have been opened on the Plaine de Plainpalais and on Place de la Navigation since April 16 to sell basic food products from the region.
From Monday 11 May 2020, all markets, except Grottes market, reopen (usual hours and days).
- More details: Markets and Food webpage
Solidarity platform for independent workers and small businesses
The Covid-héros.ch website enables you to purchase services or products now which will be delivered or enjoyed once the coronavirus crisis is over. This platform therefore provides the most vulnerable economic operators around the canton with the possibility of maintaining a proportion of their income.
The Street cleaning - clean city service has taken the necessary measures to ensure the continued provision of essential operations, organising rounds in order to provide its services throughout the crisis. The State of Geneva also provides information concerning the disposal of household waste during the current health crisis.
Sorting waste at collection points
An absolute priority, refuse collection via the door-to-door service and at the ecopoints is maintained in full. Households are thus asked to continue sorting their waste for recycling purposes: the municipal collection points are open and households can leave their sorted household waste there (paper, glass, PET/aluminium, batteries, etc.) as they normally would. Masks, gloves, used handkerchiefs and other sanitary items must be disposed of with the household waste.
Postponing visits to the cantonal refuse collection points (ESREC)
The cantonal refuse collection points - ESREC are open, but access to the sorting platform is limited to three people at any one time in order to comply with social distancing measures. The Canton of Geneva would be grateful if residents could postpone taking their waste to the ESREC as far as possible and only visit the sites if absolutely necessary.
Limiting waste production
Why not take advantage of this period of confinement to adopt a zero waste approach? Avoiding non-essential purchases, reducing food waste, buying loose and making your own cleaning or cosmetic products are just some of the ways to take tangible action and reduce household waste.
Repairing objects in the time of Covid
Essential everyday items can break or stop working (telephone, computer, fridge, bike, etc.). Information about repairs in the time of Covid-19 has been published on ge-repare.ch, which lists the addresses of shops, craftsmen and companies providing repair services in Geneva.
Extending the service life of these objects is something that everyone can do in order to limit your carbon footprint. Discover more tips and advice on this subject in the information pack addressing climate change in Geneva: Take action to protect the climate.
Do you employ someone in your private household? As an employer, you have duties.
- If your employee has not come to work at your request, you must continue to pay their wage.
- If your employee is ill, you must pay their salary in accordance with the legal provisions.
- If your employee is a vulnerable person and no measure enables you to protect their health, you must excuse your employee from work and their salary must be paid.
For more informations: COVID-19: labour rights and duties in a private household.
Not only in gardens but also on balconies and patios, urban gardening is currently very popular.
Garden centres, seedling markets and gardening activities
Seedling markets are now authorised to open for business, in accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which means that people can once again turn their attention to gardening. Social distancing and hygiene rules (shared tools, etc.) must be respected, in particular in the case of markets and shared gardens, with a view to limiting the spread of the new coronavirus.
Organic and/or local seedlings
It is possible to experiment with new varieties by purchasing local seeds or organic seedlings, with many varieties dating back many years. Where can you find seedlings, how do you make them yourself, gardening tips: discover all our great spring ideas for urban gardening!
In the City of Geneva, garden rubbish is collected with organic kitchen waste at ecopoints or via the house-to-house service: deemed a priority, it is collected by the street cleaning service, even during the current health crisis. You can therefore recycle your organic waste as usual.
The public transport service has been adapted and increased in order to meet the travel needs of the population as they gradually resume their activities.
Several actions are implemented by TPG to protect the health of all passengers as they travel:
- More frequent cleaning.
- Hygiene masks at cost price available to Unireso and Léman Pass holders: from 25 May to 5 June, the hygiene masks provided by the State of Geneva are available for sale on two buses chartered specifically for this purpose and parked on Place de Cornavin and at Rive, rue Pierre-Fatio, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Hydro-alcoholic solution refill: a 300 ml refill is also provided free of charge to any pass holder purchasing a set of masks.
Recommendations of TPG
- Wherever possible, purchase tickets online (tpgPreview or SMS channel);
- Comply with the social distancing measure of 2 metres when waiting for vehicles to arrive and climbing aboard (ensure passengers are spread out as far as possible) and wear a hygiene mask if it is impossible to maintain this distance from other passengers.
- Avoid rush hour wherever possible;
- Insofar as possible, rub your hands with a hydro-alcoholic solution before entering and leaving the vehicle.
Temporary measures in favour of cyclists
The State of Geneva is continuing to deploy measures designed to promote soft mobility in order to accompany the gradual resumption of activities.
The temporary measures aimed at encouraging increased use of bicycles are primarily made possible by eliminating traffic lanes usually intended for personal motorised vehicles, if several lanes in the same direction exist, or by eliminating parking spaces. These measures are scheduled to last no more than 60 days.
All the details are available on the State of Geneva website: COVID-19 – Implementation of measures in favour of soft mobility (map of cycle path) (only available in French)
Measures in favour of pedestrians
In addition to the measures aimed at encouraging travel by bicycle, measures have also been introduced to provide pedestrians with more space in the streets and to shorten waiting times at road junctions managed by traffic lights. This reduction in waiting times is made possible by setting the traffic lights at 15 road junctions to flashing mode from 15 May.
These measures facilitate compliance with the social distancing recommendations issued by the Federal Office of Public Health.
Closure of certain car parks
To limit the gathering of people in the same place as far as possible, several car parks located in the City of Geneva are closed or offer limited access.
Following a decision taken by the State of Geneva, you are also prohibited from parking on the road around the bay of Geneva. While the parking zones will gradually be reopened, certain access roads will remain closed such as Quai de Cologny around the Tour Carrée, thereby creating additional relaxation areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake.
Closure of educational facilities
Since Monday 16 March, pupils at primary school, pupils in secondary education II and students have not been going to school and have stayed at home to combat the spread of the virus.
Reception solutions have been organised under the aegis of the Canton for parents who have no child care solutions and for children of healthcare personnel, undertakers, prison staff, staff of the Public Prosecutor’s office, cantonal police and fire and emergency services personnel, as well as in emergency cases.
With the schools closed, teaching adjustments and home schooling have been introduced to ensure that pupils continue to learn and to help children organise their days. A maximum daily time for school work has been established. This varies depending on the class: 60 to 120 minutes from class 1P to 4P, 90 to 150 minutes from class 5P to 8P, 150 to 210 minutes in CO and no more than the teaching time on the timetable under normal circumstance for pupils in secondary II level.
Economic activities will gradually resume from 27 April and the different educational institutions will open their doors again in a staggered process. At primary school, children will return on a part-time basis (half group in the morning and other half in the afternoon), in principle from 11 May to 25 May. In this context, it is important to ensure that children respect the rules of hygiene and behavior, as reminded by the FOPH:
When school starts again on a part-time basis (in principle from 11 to 25 May), the extra-curricular service will be provided according to class presence: lunchtime service for pupils in school during the morning and from 4 p.m. for pupils in school during the afternoon.
The conditions for registering with the GIAP for the extra-curricular service (academic year 2020-2021) have been changed due to the current situation.
You can find more information on the State of Geneva website:
Following the Federal Council’s decision to close nurseries in Geneva, a minimum service has been in place in the city’s facilities since 16 March in order to provide care for children of healthcare staff, undertakers’ staff, emergency cases and children whose parents perform state functions (prison sector, public prosecution service, cantonal police and the fire and rescue service).
Following the announcement of the de-confinement measures by the Federal Council, the conditions for gradually re-opening nurseries are currently being studied by a number of different stakeholders. From Monday 27 April, the nurseries subsidised by the City of Geneva will expand their minimum care service that has been in place since 16 March 2020. A pre-school care resumption plan from the State Council on May 14 stipulates that all children enrolled in nurseries, including those whose parents are working from home, can attend their early childhood care structures from Monday 18 May.
The first stage began on 27 April with a second phase scheduled to begin on 10 May 2020.
Article modifié le 03.06.2020 à 09:46