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EXPLAINED: What are the rules for large outdoor events in Switzerland this summer?

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for large outdoor events in Switzerland this summer?
Bigger crowds will be allowed at concerts and other major events. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Concerts, festivals, and other and major events could be permitted again from July, the Swiss Federal Council announced on Wednesday. Here's what we know.

Large-scale events have been banned in Switzerland since February 2020. But that may change this summer.

The government said on Wednesday it was working on a plan that would allow cantons to authorise major events for up to 3,000 people to begin in July — if the epidemiological situation allows it.

And if the pandemic remains under control throughout the summer, the number of participants at these events could be increased to 10,000 in September.

Why is the Federal Council considering lifting the ban on large get-togethers?

“The health situation is now relatively stable in our country”, Swiss President Guy Parmelin said at the press conference. “There are good reasons for optimism”. 

The government did stress, however, that these events will be allowed to happen in the summer only “if the health situation does not deteriorate by then”. 

Will everyone be able to attend these events? 

In order to minimise the risk of contamination, only people who have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19, or have a negative test result will be allowed to participate. “By the summer, the Covid-19 certificate will significantly simplify entry checks”, the Federal Council said. 

READ MORE: Switzerland promises Covid-19 passport ‘by the summer’

What rules will apply to these events? ·     

  • Capacity will be limited to two-thirds of the seats available in the public area. ·     
  • Obligation to sit in the allocated seats. ·     
  • Contact details will be collected. ·     
  • Respecting distance and hygiene rules, and the obligation to wear a mask. 
  • Outside, standing areas will be limited to half of their capacity.
  • Participants will be put in groups of 300 people, separated from each other.

 Test events planned before July

Before July 1st, a “pilot phase” will be launched to test the waters, so to speak. 

During the month of June, each canton will allow the organisation of three test events bringing together between 300 and 600 people. The aim of these mini-events is to see whether it is possible to put protection plans in place, including checking the proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid, and negative test results. 

“It is about acquiring enough experience” before the actual launch in July, said Health Minister Alain Berset. 

The Federal Council said that “the cantons will have to revoke the authorisation or order additional restrictions if the epidemiological situation deteriorates to the point that the event can no longer take place or it is no longer possible to guarantee contact tracing”.    


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