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Leaving phone numbers in bars and restaurants will be voluntary 

People in Switzerland will be able to go to bars and restaurants again from May 11, but they will be urged, rather than required, to leave their phone numbers. 

On Friday it was confirmed by a government statement that the need to leave telephone numbers would be voluntary, rather than necessary, as was first understood. 

Restaurants must ask for contact details from guests, however.

The change comes after an outcry that the move would have been too intrusive or was against data protection rules. 

Casimir Platzer, president of the national federation of hoteliers and restaurants GastroSuisse, told the Keystone-SDA news agency that he had been in contact with the home affairs ministry and had agreed on the voluntary basis on Thursday.  

The sector’s anti-coronavirus safety plan will be adapted accordingly, Platzer said.

Under the plan, groups will be limited to four people (with the exception of large families) and there must be a distance of at least two metres between tables. 

This measure to take personal data is to help anti-coronavirus contact tracing, according to the plan drawn up in consultation with the Federal Office of Public Health and the Federal Food Safety Office. But concerns had been raised that it went too far. 

On Friday the Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Adrian Lobsiger, expressed his opposition in several media interviews to the move being compulsory. There is currently no law that allows for this, he said.