Written by: Kate Lau

Around this time last year the Geneva Canton announced the first health measures in line with the Federal government due to COVID-19. No one ever expected our daily life could still be impacted today. The emotional rollercoaster from uncertainty to hope through anxiety and frustration leads to the general acceptance that we have found a new balance between total confinement and a pandemic-free lifestyle. As of March 1st some restrictions in place since December 2020 have been lifted, namely:

Shops – time to take eyes off screen and visit the shopping complexes like Balexert with over 120 shops or La Praille with over 60 shops, although their fitness centre, cinemas, bowling centres and nurseries remain closed until further notice.

Outdoor public sports facilities – soccer fields, tennis courts, track and field facilities, golf fields are back open. The end of the winter season is approaching so hurry to the Vernets Ice Rink by the end of this month!

Outdoor space of zoos and botanical gardens – the Bioparc in Bellevue and the Bois-de-la-Bâtie in Jonction (although some areas are still closed for maintenance works) are certainly worth your free time. And you may easily spend half a day in the outdoor area of the Botanical Gardens.

Public libraries and museums – we can again enjoy hard copy books, reading in the public libraries. You are strongly advised to check the municipal library; whichever one you are interested in and please note different restrictions might be applied. And you should visit the museums because the Canton is exceptionally waiving all entrance fees during the 4 weekends of March 2021.

As lovely as our homes might be, it is a good time to take our minds off the crisis and go out. Here are other ideas you may consider to complement the above:

Winery – whether you are novice, amateur or wine expert, why not plan a visit to one of the wineries with open doors every Saturday!

Local markets – indulge yourself, and find the place for fresh fruits, vegetables or other produces from the neighbouring communities. On top of the most famous ones in Plainpalais or Carouge there are other markets worth exploring every single day.

Walking along the water and parks – the scale is not comparable to Canada, and Geneva might not be the first Canton one would think of when it comes to green space in Switzerland. Yet there is much choice and variety, be on foot or by bike, in your neighbourhood or countryside communes, this deserves a separate article of its own.

The Swiss Federal government remain cautious and continues to remind us of the basic health precautions, not to mention the various conditions (COVID-19 positive rate under 5%, threshold for the number of COVID-19 related hospitalisation, etc) the country has to meet before all restrictions (eg. eating in restaurants) can be removed. Yes, the coming weeks are critical but let’s still try to lead a sustainable life.