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Covid-19: What are Switzerland’s rules for New Year’s Eve parties?

Have a happy, but also safe and healthy, New Year. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Have a happy, but also safe and healthy, New Year. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Whatever plans you are making to celebrate on December 31st, you have to comply with these Swiss-wide measures that are in place to rein in the spread of coronavirus.

The rules for New Year’s Eve are the same as the ones that were in effect for Christmas gatherings over the previous weekend.

Here’s the overview of what you can and can’t do.

The 2G rule

By now the only people in Switzerland who don’t know what ‘2G’ stands for are the ones who just landed here from another planet.

It means you have to be fully vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus in the past four months (geimpft and genesen in German) — with a Covid certificate to prove it — to access indoor venues and events such as restaurants, cultural establishments, as well as sports and leisure facilities.

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

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

Another condition that must be met under the 2G rule is that food and drink must be consumed while sitting at a table. If that is not feasible, then the 2G-Plus rule kicks in.

What is it?

This more restrictive measure 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.

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.

So if you 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.

Smaller get-togethers

If are planning to greet the New Year with friends and family, you must comply with some rules as well.

Private events can be attended by a maximum of 30 people inside and 50 people outside if everyone in the group is fully vaccinated. 

If at least one unvaccinated person is present, then the maximum number of people allowed is 10. 

Those are the rules throughout Switzerland but if you live in, or plan to visit, Ticino, you will have to comply with additional measures.

As the Italian-speaking canton has the highest proportion — 51 percent at the beginning of this week — of Covid patients infected with Omicron variant, stricter rules are in effect in effect there.

With the exception of those who have been boosted, everyone who has had contact with Covid patients must be in quarantine, even if they are fully inoculated, according to chief cantonal doctor Giorgio doctor Merlani, who said there is “proof of Omicron’s ability to infect people who have been vaccinated”.

All these measures are in effect until January 24th at the earliest.

Now that you’ve been forewarned, try to have a Happy New Year — if you can.

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


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