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SKIING

Switzerland will not require Covid certificate for winter sports

The Swiss government agreed with ski resorts on Tuesday afternoon that the Covid certificate will not be required to hit the ski slopes this winter.

A skier carves up some sweet pow pow in the Swiss alps.
Skiers in Switzerland will not require the Covid certificate this winter. Photo by Loïc Ansermoz on Unsplash

The agreement came after a long debate about which protective measures should be introduced in the coming season, Swiss news outlet Blick reported on Tuesday.  

The main question was whether the Covid certificate would be required in chairlifts or on the slopes in general. 

IN DEPTH: What are the rules on Swiss ski slopes this year?

The government said on Tuesday that it was confident the upcoming season would be safe despite not requiring the Covid certificate. 

Switzerland’s Covid certificate demonstrates that the holder has either been vaccinated, has recovered from the virus recently or has tested negative. 

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

The Covid certificate will not be required on the slopes or to take chairlifts. 

Ski areas are however free to put in place a Covid certificate requirement if they deem it appropriate. 

It will however be required in bars and restaurants in the ski area, although people eating and drinking on terraces and balconies will not need a valid certificate. 

Masks will be required in chairlifts and on mountain railways and cable cars, the Federal Office of Public Health confirmed on Tuesday. 

This therefore means the rules in these areas reflect those in public transport. 

Will these rules be in place throughout the winter?

When making the announcement, the government was careful to reiterate that it had the final word on whether to change, i.e. tighten, the rules on the ski slopes. 

Rudolf Hauri, President of the Association of Cantonal Doctors, indicated he was uncertain about whether the decision to not require Covid certificates was the right one – and suggested it would be subject to review

“As of now, I can’t tell you whether it’s the right way. That remains to be seen, I think the last word has not yet been said in this case.”

At the same press conference, government spokespeople said more needed to be done to boost the country’s flagging vaccination rate. 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

Under a new plan put forth by the Swiss government, anyone who needs a booster shot for travel abroad should pay for it out of pocket.

Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

While Covid shots were previously free for everyone in Switzerland, with the Swiss government picking up the tab, the country has been reluctant to issue a recommendation for a second booster.

As The Local reported on Monday, this means that many people’s most recent shot will soon be more than nine months ago, which is the date at which many Covid passes expire. 

READ MORE: What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

Although evidence of vaccination is not required domestically in Switzerland any more, it may pose issues in travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland, this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

Swiss health authorities: Travellers should pay for Covid boosters themselves

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st.

If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.

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