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What are unvaccinated people in Switzerland still allowed to do?

What are unvaccinated people in Switzerland still allowed to do?
You can eat in Swiss restaurants even of you are unvaccinated. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Those who are fully vaccinated against Covid have a number of advantages in Switzerland. But what about people who haven’t been inoculated yet and and might not be planning to do so?

Please note: Switzerland tightened its Covid certificate rules as of September 13th. From September 13th, this story will be out of date. Click here for more info. 

As of Monday August 23rd, 50.77 percent of Switzerland’s residents are fully vaccinated, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This means that nearly half of the population has still not received their injections.

Unless they have already had Covid and recovered from it within the past six months — and have a certificate to prove it — they are excluded from some activities, such as large-scale events (more than 1,000 people), as well as nightclubs and discos.

Also, if they return to Switzerland from a trip abroad, they must have a negative test result to be allowed back into the country. That contrasts to those who have been fully vaccinated who can enter with the required proof.

However, unlike many other countries which have more stringent rules in this respect, unvaccinated people are allowed to access a number of settings in Switzerland.

Among them are public transports, shops, hairdressers, wellness services, sports events and fitness centres— although masks are compulsory in all these settings.

As far as leisure and recreation, unvaccinated people can go to bars and restaurants, swimming pools, public events of up to 1,000 people, as well as theatres, cinemas, and other cultural venues. Here too, masks are required for all indoor activities.

Where workplace is concerned, public companies cannot force their employees to get vaccinated, and they can’t fire you if refuse to get the jab.

In fact, they are banned from even asking you if you have had your shots.

READ MORE: Switzerland: Can your employer ask if you are vaccinated?

 Private companies, on the other hand, have a bit more leeway in this area and it could potentially get complicated for those employees who are not immunised.

Companies “can make a distinction between vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees, especially for those who pose a security risk through frequent contact with other people”, according to Daniella Lützelschwab, a representative of an employers’ association.

Lützelschwab added that a company could decide to transfer unvaccinated employees to another location, where they are not in contact with other workers.

However, if relocation is not possible, the employer “must give an employee a deadline within which they should get vaccinated”.

If he or she still refuses, the company can dismiss them, on the grounds that they don’t support the employer in implementing health protection measures in the workplace.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland rejects obligatory vaccinations for some professions

And even though some politicians and health officials are calling for unvaccinated people to pay for their own Covid-related medical bills, this measure won’t be enforced in Switzerland, as people who pay their insurance premiums can’t be denied medical care, especially as Covid vaccines are not obligatory.


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