As of today, social life comes to a standstill

  17.03.2020 Coronavirus

"I advise the population to stay calm and to obey the orders of the Confederation and the canton", says Toni von Grünigen, mayor of Saanen, on Monday morning. "Protect yourself and look to yourself, that's how you protect the others", he continues. On behalf of the entire local council, he also thanks all those who are helping to cope with the new situation.

No specific figures for the Saanenland
According to Gundekar J. Giebel, head of communication at the Health, Social and Integration Directorate of the Canton of Berne, no concrete surveys of Covid-19 patients are being conducted for the Saanenland. As of the editorial deadline, there were 104 confirmed and seven probable cases in the canton. Of these, twelve were hospitalised. Their condition was stable.

Visits to hospitals prohibited
On 13 March, the government council of the Canton of Berne decided that with immediate effect patient visits to hospitals are prohibited. Exceptions are visits to children, persons in childbirth and the dying.Thus access for visitors to the Zweisimmen hospital will remain prohibited until further notice. The canton writes that this is primarily a matter of protecting healthcare emplyees.

Pharmacies are required to produce disinfectants themselves. The pharmacy in Gstaad is capable of doing this, as one employee confirmed. But if the raw materials for this are lacking, it is simply not possible she adds. In addition, the employees are currently working at full capacity due to customers' regular prescription requests. The pharmacy attaches great importance to treating customers with particular caution in order to avoid any possible infection with the coronavirus and to prevent the loss of staff.

Schools remain closed
All schools in Saanenland agreed last weekend on how to deal with the school closure decreed by the federal government. "The basic range of schooling is not available with the Federal Council's decision and everything that is now being organised is an emergency offer", emphasised Thomas Bollmann, director of the municipal administration of Saanen. "The appeal goes to the parents and their own responsibility in dealing with the emergency situation." According to Bollmann, the coordination between the individual schools in the Saanenland and the parents is working very well in planning and implementing the emergency education programme.

Get school supplies today
Accordingly, the school buildings will be open this morning to hand over the teaching materials prepared by headmasters and teachers to the pupils. Of course, these materials will be handed out in compliance with the safety measures. The parents of all children have been informed about the procedure.

For all those who cannot look after their children themselves because of work, the municipality provides a childcare service. However, this is only intended for emergencies.

Digital music school
The music schools are also subject to the regulations on school closures that were issued last Friday. The Saanenland-Obersimmental Music School (MSSO) cannot use the school rooms and must suspend lessons. "Individual solutions and creativity are called for," says Ernst Oberli, pointing to digital solutions for music lessons. Some lessons are already being held online (via Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime).

Public transport to be maintained
Postbus operators are doing everything possible to protect their drivers from the pandemic and thus to maintain public transport. The driver's door therefore remains closed. This means that all passengers have to get in at the back. As a second measure the drivers no longer sell tickets. "These can be bought, for example, from vending machines or mobile phones." Sonja Kübli is thankful that the crisis has fallen into the off-season and hopes that everyday life will continue until June, when the tourist season starts again, so that the economic consequences for SMEs remain bearable.

The MOB had to close the tourist routes Haut-de-Caux-Rochers de Naye and Lally-Les Pléiades. All other routes and lines are normally open until further notice, informs Jérôme Gachet, head of communication, on request. However, this could change at any time, depending on instructions from the canton or the federal government. As a further measure, the MOB has implemented a ban on all group travel on public transport. All special trains have been cancelled and the catering service on the trains has been suspended. Like Postbus passengers, customers will have to buy tickets at official sales points and online.

Sportzentrum Gstaad
Sportzentrum Gstaad is closed with immediate effect. A so-called time stop in the group fitness area is granted on all subscriptions. The bonus time is automatically added, no confirmation from the subscription owner is required. On all other subscriptions, a time stop is only granted upon presentation of a medical certificate.

Based on AvS/Blanca Burri, Kerem S. Maurer and Jenny Sterchi

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