'Flagrant inequality of treatment': How Switzerland reacted to Covid certificate extension
Reactions, both positive and negative, have poured in after Switzerland’s announcement on Wednesday about the extension of the Covid certificate.
From that day, certificates will be required to enter indoor areas of restaurants, bars, fitness centres, as well as sports events, cultural facilities, and some private events, as is currently the case in most of Switzerland’s neighbour countries.
However they won’t be needed to have a drink on a bar or café terrace, unlike in neighbouring countries such as Austria and France.
The certificate will also be required in the workplace in many instances.
More information about where the certificate will be compulsory from Monday can be found here.
The decision was bound to incite strong reactions as "this situation puts society in front of a moral dilemma" said Christine Clavien, member of the National Ethics Commission.
"We have to choose between several options, none of which is perfect. Whatever decision we take, we will violate an important moral value," she explained.
Not surprisingly, the announcement has sparked diverse reactions, ranging from praise to criticism.
Most political parties, with the exception of Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which has spoken against the extension, welcomed the news.
The Social Democrats said that the new measure “should help prevent the spread of the virus, the increase in infections, the serious progression of the disease, as well as new restrictions such as bans or closures”.
This message is echoed by the Center party, which pointed out that “the most important goal is to prevent further overloading of hospitals and, above all, health workers, and even to avoid further closures”.
On the economic front, Economiesuisse, an umbrella organisation for Swiss businesses, is also in favour of the measure “because the vaccine coverage remains insufficient, and the effects of a new containment would be much more serious for the economy and society”.
However, the organisation added that the certificate requirement “should only be a temporary measure”.
For Gastrosuisse, an association of the restaurant and hotel industry, "this decision is disproportionate and leads to a flagrant inequality of treatment, according to its president, Casimir Platzer, who admitted on Wednesday that he is not vaccinated “for personal reasons”.
The restaurant and hotel industry was one of the sectors most impacted by extended closures since the beginning of the pandemic.
For its part, the SVP said the extension is “unacceptable because it discriminates against large parts of the population and hits those industries hard that have already suffered badly”.
The same message comes from the Swiss Trade Association, which criticises the expansion because “it is not effective and endangers sales and jobs”.