Swiss President Guy Parmelin, right, speaks next to Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset during a press conference on February 24 in Bern. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Switzerland will press ahead with a gradual reopening of its economy and society, with some coronavirus restrictions being lifted on March 1, the Swiss federal government announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

All stores in Switzerland will reopen on March 1st, with a limited number of customers. Museums, libraries, zoological and botanical gardens, outdoor sports and leisure facilities will also reopen. Most sporting and cultural activities for those under the age of 20 will also resume.

From March 1st, people in Switzerland will get the green light to meet outdoors in groups of more than 15 people. Swiss President Guy Parmelin said outdoor dining could resume on March 22nd, rather than the previously scheduled April 1st, if the situation permits.

The restaurants in Switzerland have been closed since December 22nd. Shops that are no longer needed have been closed since January 18th.

Parmelin said the gradual reopening will “be a source of discontent for some,” adding that “some people’s impatience is understandable” but the situation in Switzerland remains very fragile due to new varieties of the virus that are evolving .

The Swiss government said it would reassess the situation on March 12th.

Alain Berset, member of the Federal Council, tweeted on Wednesday that the government had “taken a calculated risk: for society, for the economy and especially for young people who are particularly affected by this crisis”.

The Federal Office of Public Health registered at least 1,343 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

Switzerland has recorded at least 552,698 coronavirus cases and at least 9,256 deaths since the pandemic began.

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