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Swiss fitness centres make it harder to get pandemic-related refunds or discounts

Gyms and fitness centres in Switzerland have changed their membership contracts unilaterally, making it harder to end your subscription or get a refund in the event of another lockdown.

Swiss fitness centres make it harder to get pandemic-related refunds or discounts
Photo: AFP

Fitness centres and gyms across Switzerland have been forced to close for large parts of the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

From Monday, April 19th, Switzerland again allowed gyms and fitness centres to open – albeit subject to wide range of restrictions. 

READ MORE: What are the rules for gyms and fitness centres in Switzerland?

However, apparently wanting to cover themselves from potential future losses, fitness studios have changed their contractual clauses unilaterally to make it harder for members to get refunds in the case of further lockdowns. 

In the future, there will be no discounts, extensions, refunds or replacements in the event of ‘force majeure’ – which includes anything related to this or any other pandemic. 

Most of Switzerland’s big fitness chains – including Basefit, Activ Fitness and Migros Fitness – have made the changes, reports Switzerland’s Blick tabloid. 

Several other smaller chains and fitness centres have also followed suit. 

Some fitness centres had extended memberships and reduced fees during the first waves of the pandemic, however the rule change ensures that this is no longer an option. 

A law professor who spoke with Switzerland’s Blick said members would have little recourse to challenge the fitness centres on the changes. 

Frédéric Krauskopf, Professor of Private Law at the University of Bern, said the changes were likely to be held up in court. 

“When going to court, consumers cannot assume that they will be right,” said Krauskopf.

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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?