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WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in February 2022 in Switzerland

From skiing to Covid measures, here's what is set to change in February 2022 in Switzerland.

A person holds an unusually small white clock against a blank background.
Here are some of the changes Switzerland has in store this February. Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Covid certificates to expire

In mid-January, the Swiss government announced it was shortening the duration of Covid certificates from one year to nine months, with the change set to come into effect on February 1st. 

The reason for the shorter 270-day duration of the certificate is new evidence about the duration of protection from either vaccination or contracting the virus and recovering. 

As a result of this change, hundreds of thousands of certificates are set to expire on February 1st – with many of those unaware their certificates are now invalid. 

Anyone who received their second dose before May 2021 and has not received a booster will no longer have a valid certificate from Tuesday, February 1st, onwards. 

Click the following link for more information. 

READ MORE: ‘Hundreds of thousands’ of Covid certificates to expire on Tuesday

Car stickers

You had the entire month of January to purchase the 2022, motorway sticker to affix on your windshield. If you haven’t done it yet, then as of February 1st you could be fined 200 francs if you are caught driving on a motorway without it.

The price of the has remained the same as years prior – 40 francs – and it can be purchased at petrol stations, the post office, and some kiosks.

Here’s more information about this vignette:

Swiss vignette: What you need to know about Switzerland’s motorway charge sticker

The Post will charge for insufficient postage

Price of stamps has increased from January 1st — mail A went up to 1.10 francs and mail B to 90 cents — but the Post has granted a month’s ‘grace period’ for its customers to use up the old stamps.

From February 1st, however, the 10-cent surcharge for A mail and 5-cent for B mail will be billed to the senders who affixed insufficient postage.

If the senders can be identified, the missing value of the stamp will be invoiced to them, in addition  to 1 franc for processing fees.

Testing the alarm signal

The general alarm signal will be tested nationwide, as it is every year on the first Wednesday in February, on February 2nd, at 1.30 pm. The cantons will also broadcast a notification on the Alertswiss channels.

The general alarm signal – a steady oscillating siren lasting one minute – is intended  to alert the population of an impending emergency or disaster. 

From 2:15 to 3 p.m, the “water alert“ signal is tested in those areas that are close to dams.

According to Federal Office for Civil Protection, “The general public is not required to respond in a particular way or take protective measures, but simply requested in advance to excuse the inconvenience caused by the noise of the sirens”.

Swiss to vote on February 13th

Swiss voters will weigh in on four issues in the first referendum of 2022: animal experiments, advertising of tobacco products, stamp duties, and state aid for news media.

While these topics may not be as contentious and divisive as the Covid-19 legislation and Covid-19 certificate that the Swiss voted on in two separate referendums in 2021, these issues do matter to Switzerland’s population.

Click the following link for more info:

Tobacco, tax and animal testing: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s February referendum?

Winter sports

You can actually do other things than ski, but the traditional one-week-long winter break when public schools in Switzerland are off and families typically head to mountain slopes, is staggered throughout February.

It could fall at the beginning or end of the month, depending on the canton.

This year Swiss ski resorts are likely to be busy, as Switzerland is attracting record numbers of foreign tourists thanks to its comparatively relaxed Covid measures, with up to five times as many foreigners on the slopes as before the pandemic.

READ MORE: Skiing: Relaxed Swiss Covid rules attracting ‘record numbers of foreigners’

Covid measures to expire

If the epidemiological situation allows it, the government will end some current coronavirus measures, such as and the obligation to work from home and the quarantine rules on February 2nd. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to end quarantine rules and working from home requirement

The 2G regulations are also set to expire at the end of February (28th), although this may be brought forward if hospitalisations and ICU admissions remain low. 

The Federal Council originally intended to keep all the restrictions in place until the end of March, but gave in to the cantons, which favours a shorter duration.

 

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex marriage, new rules for cars, and music festivals: this is what's in store for Switzerland in July.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex couples can marry at last

After Switzerland voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum on September 26th, 2021, the new law will enter into force on July 1st.

Gay couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership — which did not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children — will suffice to convert a current partnership.

READ MORE: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

Sessions with psychologists will be reimbursed by health insurance

Until now, Swiss basic insurance (KVG / LaMal) only covered mental health and treatment provided by psychiatrists.

But starting on July 1st, the cost of counselling offered by licensed psychologists will also be refunded, after agreement on hourly rates was reached between the association of psychologists and groups which determine medical rates.

READ MORE:  What isn’t covered by Switzerland’s compulsory health insurance?

New rules for electronic voting: pilot tests

Cantons will again be able to carry out electronic voting trials from July 1st.

The Federal Council has set July 1st as the entry into force of the new rules.

Electronic voting has been in the trial phase since 2004. Fifteen cantons have already created the necessary legal bases and conducted more than 300 successful tests.

Electronic voting will  only be accessible to part of the population — 30 percent of the cantonal electorate and 10 percent of the Swiss electorate as a whole.

Installing solar panels will become easier

Some solar installations on facades, dams or noise barriers can more easily be built from July 1st, as the Federal Council removed prior administrative obstacles to these actions.. The granting of authorisations for these structures may be accelerated and the conditions relaxed.

It will therefore be easier to set up such installations on a dam lake in an alpine environment or on a less sensitive part of the territory. There will no longer be a need for authorisation to install solar panels on roofs.

Swiss vehicles to be equipped with black boxes

Black boxes will be mandatory for new types of passenger cars and vans from July 1st, after the entry into force of a UN regulation.

The new regulation aims to allow significant progress in gathering data on road accidents and vehicle safety, according to the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Thanks to the new device, investigators will be able to reconstruct an accident from five seconds before and until the vehicle is immobilised.

Summer holidays begin

Depending on the canton, almost all schoolchildren in Switzerland will start their summer break between July 4th and 11th. You can find out the date in each canton here.

However, getting to and from your holiday destination by air may not be all that relaxing: airports in Switzerland and throughout Europe are expecting huge crowds and chaos as travel is picking up after two years of Covid restrictions.

There will also be delays and disruptions due to some previously scheduled flights being cancelled.

Which flights have SWISS airlines cut ahead of summer season?

Passengers are advised to contact their airline to find out if their flight is affected.

READ MORE: ‘‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Switzerland’s famous jazz and rock festivals

July is the month when two world-famous music festivals take place annually in Switzerland.

The first, Montreux Jazz, begins on July 1st and goes through July 16th in Montreux, an old town located in Vaud on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Freddy Mercury, frontman of Queen once lived and worked.

This year’s line-up includes stars like Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, and John Legend, among others.

The second music event, the Paléo Festival in Nyon, also in canton Vaud, will take place (after missing 2020 and 2021due to Covid) from July 19th to 24th, and feature world-class perfprmers like Sting, KISS, and dozen others.

Tickets to both events are usually snapped up as soon as the go on sale, but they may still be some for sale. You can check the availability here for Montreux and Paléo.

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