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What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass allow you to do?

Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass is being rolled out, but confusion remains on what exactly it will allow you to do. Here’s what you need to know. 

What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass allow you to do?
Switzerland's Covid-19 immunity pass will launch this week. Photo by Fabian Hurnaus on Unsplash

Swiss President Guy Parmelin said in early June that anyone who chose not to get vaccinated “would have to face the consequences”. 

“Your own freedom stops where the freedom of others begins. That has to be a consideration” Parmelin said. 

On Monday, June 7th, Switzerland finally released its Covid-19 certificate, which will provide certain rights and privileges to holders for travel and events. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about the ‘green pass’, Switzerland’s coronavirus immunity card

The Covid-19 certificate – otherwise known as the Covid-19 pass or the green pass – is available in paper and digital form. 

According to the Swiss government, the pass “provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, have had and recovered from the disease or have tested negative”. 

But while international travel will be one of the major privileges of the pass, little is known about what it will allow you to do domestically. 

What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass allow you to domestically? 

Internationally, Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass will link up with that of the EU, thereby allowing relatively uniform rules for travel. 

Domestically however, the controversial pass has been subject to political debate. 

While the Council of States and the National Council want it to provide almost a complete return to normality, Switzerland’s far-right SVP are skeptical of the plan and have sought to oppose it. 

In a vote on June 8th, the SVP argued that the certificate should only be used for international travel along with attending large events of more than 5,000 people and attending nightclubs and dance events – and that it should only apply until September. 

This proposal was however rejected by the National Council. 

How will the Covid-19 health pass work? 

As at June 9th, it appears that the health pass – also known as a Covid-19 pass, Covid certificate, green passport or Covid passport – will operate on a three-tiered colour system. 

Three colours – green, orange and red – will be assigned to different areas of life in Switzerland. 

Those areas designated green will be deemed as elementary to life and therefore protected by basic freedoms – which means that the Covid-19 pass will not be required to access these areas. 

This includes shops, schools and educational facilities, the workplace (including canteens), public transport and religious venues. 

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

Private events will also be deemed ‘green’. 

The next category, orange, will relate to places which are popular with people but not fundamental, for instance bars, restaurants and cinemas. 

Events with up to 1,000 attendees will be included here, such as trade fairs, sporting events, etc. 

Amateur sport and activities of cultural associations will be included here, as will visiting old people’s homes. 

In ‘orange’ places, operators will be given the freedom to decide which rules they put in place – and whether they require attendees or customers with the health certificate or not. 

If venues do require certificates, they will be allowed to relax other rules, such as those requiring masks or social distancing rules. 

Finally, red areas include “sensitive epidemiological areas” which will require additional protection. 

These will include larger events (more than 1,000 people) and international travel, along with nightclubs and larger events involving dancing. 

Please note that this is still subject to ongoing debate and may therefore change. 

More information is available here from the Swiss government (in English). 

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‘Curate your messages carefully’: Our readers on dating in Switzerland

In June, we asked our readers for their tips for what to do - and what not to do - when dating someone from Switzerland. Here’s what they had to say.

'Curate your messages carefully': Our readers on dating in Switzerland

Finding love – or pursuing lust – can be tough at the best of times, but a new cultural environment will undoubtedly throw up its own challenges. 

These differences can be fun, surprising or downright shocking. 

We asked our readers about their dating life in Switzerland. We wanted to know if they’d had any struggles or challenges – and how they could avoid them. 

Half had an ‘odd experience’

We had just over 30 responses to the survey, which is a relatively strong result for any Local Switzerland poll not focused on Covid measures. 

Approximately half – 53.1 percent – said they’d had an odd experience when dating someone from Switzerland. The rest – 46.9 percent – said they had not. 

‘Cold’, ‘closed’ and ‘cheap’

For those who said they had an odd experience, we got a full spectrum. Some of the responses were similar to previous reader callouts, while others were somewhat surprising. 

Jessica, who lives in Lucerne, said the Swiss – perhaps the richest country in Europe – can sometimes be cheap dates. 

“He claimed he forgotten his wallet and (on the) second date, the same excuses”. 

Several readers said the person they dated was “cold” and would not open up. 

READ MORE: Are the Swiss really unfriendly – or are foreigners to blame? 

Mariah, who lives in Zurich, said Swiss men can be closed and may not want you to be a part of their lives. 

“I am Brazilian and come from a very open and affectionate culture. I was dating a Swiss-French guy for 2 months and one day he organised a trip to the mountains. 

“He was during the whole way in the train talking about how amazing his birthday party would be in a few weeks and “everyone” would be there but he was never mentioning to invite me.”

“I mentioned to another Swiss friend and she said this is normal.”

Another reader, from Zurich, agreed, saying anyone making themselves vulnerable could mean they get hurt.

After telling a Swiss German man relatively early on that she loved him, the relationship changed permanently. 

“As soon as I had sent it, I realised “OMG, that is not what I meant to send…”, she told The Local. 

READ MORE: Great salaries but ‘no human warmth’: Your views on living and working in Geneva

 “It was not the way I had felt (yet), but the previously very cheeky and chatty (by Swiss German standards) guy suddenly started responding in typical very polite Swiss style, and only when I messaged him.” 

“This might have scared off someone from another culture, but as the Swiss Germans typically take their time to get to know people it was obviously unforgivable.”

Simon, who lives in Nyon, said he struggled with Swiss women. 

“Be careful, they are very feminist and can be domineering.”

What advice do you have for dating a Swiss?

Mariah said it was important to have a clear conversation about boundaries and expectations. 

“Don’t assume you will be part of their life without talking openly about it and don’t assume the relationship status either.”

Another, from Zurich, said you should think twice about what messages you send as the Swiss can be quite literal. 

“Curate messages carefully. Things can be taken very literally, and not easily be laughed off as a slip of the tongue / Freudian slip!”

Claudia said some cultural norms can be surprising at first. 

“They are super comfortable getting changed (naked) in public”, she said. 

She did however say that foreigners criticising the Swiss for being closed minded should take a good hard look in the mirror first. 

“Actually they are more fun than we think! Be open minded!”