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EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s 2G-Plus rule?

When the Federal Council announced the ‘2G’ rule to go into effect in Switzerland on December 20th, it also referred to ‘2G-Plus’ in certain situations. What is this ‘plus’ rule and when must it be used?

The ‘2G-Plus’ rule applies in discos and other venues where sitting at a table is not possible. Photo by Antoine J. on Unsplash
The ‘2G-Plus’ rule applies in discos and other venues where sitting at a table is not possible. Photo by Antoine J. on Unsplash

If you haven’t been reading news lately and are confused about what all these Gs stand for, here’s a quick explanation.

Until recently, most countries in Europe adhered to the ‘3G’ rule, which in German means Geimpft, Genesen, Getestet (vaccinated, recovered, tested).

3G-compliant venues would mandate that attendees needed to be either vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative for the virus. 

However, as the epidemiological situation got worse, countries like Austria, Germany,  France, and now also Switzerland, adopted the ‘2G’ measure, dropping “tested” from the rule.

This means that people who have not been fully vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid within the past four months, cannot access indoor venues and events such as restaurants — as long as food can be consumed while sitting at a table — cultural establishments, as well as sports and leisure facilities.

READ MORE: 2G: Switzerland targets unvaccinated with new Covid measures

In practical terms, this means that people wanting to access indoor venues and activities will have to show their Covid certificate to prove they are eligible under one of the two categories.

Those who are unvaccinated or not recovered from Covid, but merely tested, are no longer allowed entry under the new rules.

READ MORE: ‘It strengthens the fight’: How Switzerland reacted to new Covid rules

What about the ‘2G-Plus’?

One aspect of the new measures in place since December 20th is the 2G-Plus rule. 

It is intended to prevent the spread of the virus in places where certain protective measures can’t be maintained.

It applies in situations where the requirement to be seated while eating or drinking can’t be met — for example in bars and clubs — and masks can’t be worn.

“In settings where masks cannot be worn, such as brass band practice, or where it is not possible to eat or drink while seated, admission will be limited to vaccinated or recovered persons who also present a negative test result,” the Federal Council said when it announced the new rules on Friday.

However, “people who within the last four months have been fully vaccinated, received a booster or recovered from COVID-19 do not have to take a further test”, authorities said.

What does this mean?

if you are have not been inoculated against Covid or recovered from it within the last four months, you need a test (PCR or antigen) to go to any places where seating is not guaranteed and where masks can’t be worn.

The same applies if you have been fully vaccinated or recovered more than four months ago and have not had a booster shot since then.

Since December 18th, testing has again been free in Switzerland. 

Covid testing free again in Switzerland: What you need to know

These rules will be in place until January 24th, 2022, at the earliest.

Member comments

  1. How is swimming in a chlorinated pool where covid transmission is impossible considered 2g+ but eating and talking in indoor restaurants considered only 2g? It’s absurd and these incongruities lead to less respect overall for the rules. Pools are safe and should be accessible at least until we have had the chance to get boosters.

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Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Swiss government will not make second Covid boosters available until autumn, saying those who are currently fully vaccinated face a low risk of contracting the virus.

Covid boosters not available in Switzerland until autumn

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second Covid booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

While Switzerland had a widespread booster shot campaign against Covid, the government has been reluctant to approve second boosters other than for those in vulnerable categories. 

Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible. 

People not in those risk groups who want a second booster will need to pay out of pocket for the jab. 

This may be people who feel they are in a risk group but are not included in the government’s list, or those who need a booster for travelling abroad. 

People who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

Previously, all Covid boosters have been free for Swiss citizens and residents, with the government electing to cover the costs. 

How much will a Covid booster for travel cost? 

While the federal government previously covered the costs of the vaccines, it is now up to individual vaccination centres to set a price for a second booster. 

A spokesperson from the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday that the cost tends to be around CHF60 across much of the country. 

Please keep in mind that this cost only relates to second booster shots for those not in vulnerable categories. For those wanting their first booster – or indeed their first or second shot of the vaccine – the government will continue to cover the costs.