Swiss Federal Council proposes mandatory COVID certificate
The latest coronavirus briefing held by Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset has revealed new plans to extend the use of COVID-19 certificates.
COVID-19 certificates to be required in public places
Berset and the Federal Council argued that the current COVID certificate should be used in more public and private settings in future. Under the new plans, people who wish to access restaurants, bars and clubs will have to provide proof of vaccination, test or recovery from coronavirus in order to enter. As well as the majority of public settings, the requirement of a certificate will be extended to events taking place indoors such as private weddings, cinemas and other events.
The move followed calls by four Swiss counties (cantons), who demanded a uniform policy to COVID certificates. The Council emphasised that indoor gatherings and groups of over 30 people should continue to exercise mask-wearing and social distancing. In places where masks are no longer required, such as gyms and music theatres, people should begin to use the certificate.
The most controversial part of the plan is to “clarify” whether to give companies the power to require COVID certificates at work. This would allow companies to require certification if it is deemed “necessary and appropriate” for the type of work.
This clause has caused anger among trade unions, who say that the move may infringe on workers’ rights, workers' contracts and would open the door to discrimination. A spokesperson for Unia Serge Gnos said that the proposal was “too unclearly worded,” and could lead to mandatory vaccination.
Three-phase model to avoid lockdown in Switzerland
The plans are part of the “three-phase model” and are designed to avoid the economic impact of another full or partial lockdown. The Federal Council said in a statement that, "Unlike in previous waves of infection, the closure of entire industries or bans on certain activities should be avoided."
Alongside these proposals, the government has confirmed that people who use regular testing to receive the COVID certificate or for trips abroad will have to pay for PCR and rapid tests from October 1. The Federal Council said that it was unfair that the Swiss tax system should pay for the unvaccinated, now that vaccines are widely available.
This new rule does not apply for people with symptoms, family and friends visiting someone in hospital, students at a Swiss schools, people who cannot be vaccinated and those who are younger than 16 years of age. The Federal Council have submitted these new recommendations to the cantons, who will make the final decision by August 30.