New travel rules in Switzerland: What expats need to know
After the latest press conference, which scrapped the majority of COVID restrictions in Switzerland, the Federal Council has clarified what rules apply to those who want to visit Switzerland from February 17.
COVID rules for Swiss airports scrapped
At the press conference on February 16, the majority of COVID restrictions were lifted in Switzerland, with the exception of the mask mandate in hospitals and public transport, and the requirement for people who test positive for the virus to self-isolate for five days. Along with the relaxations came new rules that scrapped entry requirements for tourists and travellers to Switzerland.
According to the Federal Council, masks are no longer required at Swiss airports as they do not fall under the public transport mask mandate. However, authorities were quick to stress that those who want to wear a mask can do so.
COVID-19 entry requirements to Switzerland removed
In addition, all COVID-related health measures upon entry to Switzerland are to be lifted. This means that people wanting to enter the country no longer have to present proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. Travellers will also not have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
Bear in mind that this only applies to travel to Switzerland, and that mask mandates and proof of vaccination, test or recovery may still apply when leaving Switzerland. For this purpose, the Federal Council confirmed that the COVID certificate would still be issued in Switzerland and be valid for travel use. PCR and rapid antigen testing for travel will not be paid for by the government, but can still be accessed. Please consult the government website of your destination country so that you are fully prepared.
Some Swiss airlines to keep mask mandates
Also, consider that the lifting of the mask mandate does not apply to some airlines. SWISS and Helvetic Airways, two of the largest Swiss airlines, have confirmed that masks will remain mandatory on their flights for the time being. In a statement, SWISS spokesperson Michael Stief confirmed that they “are keeping their previous protection measures on board.”
He explained that the pandemic was in different stages in other parts of the world and that SWISS would not mix and match mask measures based on each country's rules. Stief, along with Helvetic spokesperson Simon Benz, said that they did not know when mask rules would be scrapped.