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Travellers from Switzerland may be “grounded” if COVID-19 law rejected

Travellers from Switzerland may be “grounded” if COVID-19 law rejected

Travellers from Switzerland may be “grounded” if COVID-19 law rejected

The Swiss Federal Council has warned that people in Switzerland may not be able to travel abroad if they reject the "COVID-19-Gesetz" or COVID-19 law in November’s referendum. They say that a rejection of the law would make Swiss COVID certificates unenforceable, preventing their use for foreign travel and "grounding" would-be holidaymakers.

Federal Council warns travel could be blocked if COVID-19 law rejected

In a press conference, the Federal Council said that travelling from Switzerland with a Swiss COVID passport would become unenforceable at borders and airports, if voters reject the COVID-19 law in November. The emergency measures that the government has taken, such as mask requirements and quarantine restrictions, are to be voted on, and if rejected, would see the COVID certificate become void. 

Head of the Department of Home Affairs, Alain Berset, said if the law is rejected at the ballot box, “no uniform and forgery-proof certificates could be issued in Switzerland from the end of March." He claimed that this would give Swiss residents no way of proving their vaccination, test or recovery when on holiday, and so far the government has “no plan B.”

COVID laws in Switzerland to be voted on in November

Speaking in support of the government, National Councillor Tamara Funiciello said, "We are in a global pandemic and therefore need the COVID certificate." She made the case that if voters are to reject the COVID-19 law, they must also bear the consequences. Cantonal authorities are also concerned that if the act is rejected, there will be a scramble to make their own COVID rules and enforce them without federal help.

The only party that does not support the COVID-19 law is the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), and, to SVP National Councillor Hans-Ueli Vogt, the abolition of the law would not stop the government finding a new solution. He noted that there would be nothing to prevent a “much more restricted certificate requirement that only applies to international travel and major events."

The vote is due to take place on November 28, with supporters of the COVID-19 law highlighting its importance for the healthcare system, hospitality and public transport in enforcing protection “concepts” against coronavirus. Polling in March has shown popular support for the law at 44 to 64 percent, to 32 percent against. As the referendum approaches, opponents hope that the new certificate requirements will swing votes in their favour.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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