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NEWSLETTER

Switzerland to further relax coronavirus measures from Monday

Switzerland on Wednesday announced the relaxation of several coronavirus measures from Monday, May 31st.

Switzerland to further relax coronavirus measures from Monday
Working from home obligation may end on Moay 31st. Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP

While the government has already laid out its plan for the easing of restrictions at the end of the month, the final decision will be announced Wednesday afternoon.

EXPLAINED: What Covid measures will Switzerland relax from Monday?

Given the favourable epidemiological situation in the country — fewer infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and more vaccinations — chances are good that the Federal Council will allow these measures to be lifted:

Restaurants

Indoor areas could be opened, with a maximum of four people per table, registration of contact details, as well as obligation to consume seated and to wear a mask, including at the table when nothing is consumed.

However, some cantons have already said that the new rules, especially those pertaining to wearing masks while seated, are impractical.

For instance, Schaffhausen, Aargau, St. Gallen, and Thurgau deemed this measure “incomprehensible and impossible to impose”.

Working from home

This would no longer be compulsory “for companies which organise regular screening”, the Federal Council said.

Here too not all the cantons are in agreement, with Fribourg wanting tests to be a recommendation rather that obligation.

And Vaud authorities said that this requirement would be complicated for small businesses and therefore wants the obligation to work from home to be lifted without it being conditional on testing.

Also, Vaud “expressly requests that vaccinated people be automatically released from the obligation to be tested”, the canton said.

More people allowed to gather

It is likely that the limit for private gatherings will be raised to 30 people indoors and 50 outside.

Right now only 10 people are authorised inside and 15 outside.

Cantons already said they are in favour of raising limits on the number of people allowed to get together because “it is extremely difficult to enforce the limit of 15 people for private gatherings outside”, Jura authorities noted.

As for outdoor events, the Federal Council may permit groups of 300 people outdoors and 100 inside, but with venues filled to half their capacity in order to ensure physical distancing.

What about quarantines?

Switzerland already said it would wind back its quarantine requirement for vaccinated people and those who can prove they have recovered from the virus at the end of May. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to remove quarantine for vaccinated people

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Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?

Starting on June 28th, vaccinated travellers from third countries, including Americans, will be allowed to come to Switzerland without having to show a negative Covid test or quarantine upon arrival.

Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?
Vaccination in a foreign country can be proven with an official certificate. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

“In view of the positive developments in the epidemiological situation and the progress made in the field of vaccination, the Federal Council is proposing to greatly relax the prescriptions and health measures at the border for people entering Switzerland”, authorities announced on June 11th.

They specified, however, that final decision on this move will be made on June 23rd.

READ MORE: Switzerland set to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans

However, if the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths will remain the same as now — or, better yet, drop further — vaccinated tourists from outside the Schengen zone will be able to come to Switzerland before the end of June.

What proof of vaccination will those travellers have to show to enter the country?

Basically, the requirements for residents of third nations are the same as for people coming from the EU/EFLA states.

The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.

The document, which can be either on your smart phone or in paper form, must have your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered (or a single dose in case of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

READ MORE: Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?

Another important requirement is that the vaccine you received is authorised for use in the European Union and, therefore, in Switzerland.

So far, the European Medicines Agency has approved vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

In addition to these two, Switzerland will also accept the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac for entry. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the travel should take place at least 14 days after the second dose, which is when immunity to coronavirus is believed to fully kick in.

The same rules apply to people coming from the so-called “high-variant” countries (VOC) which at the moment include Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

They can enter Switzerland if fully vaccinated with proper proof.

Otherwise, they must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 days before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

However, Russia’s Sputnik V, as well as China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have not received European or Swiss approval to date.

Does this mean travellers from Russia, China, and other countries that don’t use EU-approved vaccines can’t come to Switzerland?

They can still come, but will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

This rule pertains not only to foreign visitors, but also to Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad.

Will the Covid certificate be sufficient proof?

If it is internationally recognized, which means valid in the EU and Switzerland, then yes.

Switzerland’s certificate will be ready by July 1st. However, not all countries may have these immunity passports ready for use before you travel abroad.

If this is the case, then a proper vaccine document, as mentioned above, will suffice.

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

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