The Federal Council’s measures to curb the spread of coronavirus represent a massive intervention in basic economic freedom. But the only way of successfully combatting the coronavirus crisis is through a balanced combination of restrictive directives and granting more freedoms.
Social distancing is an adequate preventive health measure for society and the economy. The spaces and times for production, consumption, supply, and demand should be spread over seven days a week rather than being limited to fixed times of the day or night. This would even out busy periods in the consumption of goods and services; at the same time, making business activity, production and working times more flexible would make it easier to keep to the social distancing rules. There needs to be regulatory streamlining in terms of employment law, shop opening hours, logistics, and the movement of goods, and for cross-border commuters and hospital administrations.
Within the Swiss healthcare system the burden on hospitals is very asymmetrical. While some are suffering from a lack of qualified staff, others are applying for shorter working hours because of inadequate infrastructures for taking in COVID-19 patients. Here creative staff pooling solutions are called for.