As of Monday, Switzerland requires all who are 16 years of age or older and looking to take part in a “public indoor activity” to present their Swiss COVID certificate at the entrance. To receive that, individuals must either be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, have had the disease and since recovered from it or have had a recent negative COVID-19 test result.
The intent behind this move is to, according to the Swiss Federal Council, “prevent hospitals from being overstretched.”
Over the past seven days, the country has averaged 37 confirmed positive test results per 100,000 people. That is more than any of its bordering countries: Liechtenstein (22), Austria (21), France (15), Germany (13) and Italy (8). It is fewer than the United States’, however, which is 44.
Switzerland’s total daily case count over that period of 3,195 is four times what it was six weeks ago.
The country is also trailing the nations that it borders by vaccination rates. In Switzerland, 60% of people are at least partially vaccinated, and 53% are fully vaccinated. The corresponding percentages for Italy are 73 and 64, for France are 74 and 63, for Germany are 67 and 62, for Austria are 63 and 60 and for Liechtenstein are 60 and 54. The United States’ are 63 and 54.
Amongst the indoor venues that cannot be accessed without this vaccine passport are clubs, discos, concert venues, theaters, museums, casinos, restaurants, bars, fitness centers and libraries. Exceptions that officials have made include religious ceremonies, self-help groups and political events as long as the attendance at them does not exceed 50 people.
These requirements are set to expire on Jan. 24. It is not known if they may instead be extended then.
Individuals not adhering to them are subject to a fine of 92 euros ($108). Companies and organizers who do not adhere to them may also receive a fine or even be shut down if the case is deemed egregious.
Prior to this new change, the COVID certificate was only required when entering clubs, discos and any largely attended events.
Americans should take note of another change that went into effect on Monday. As of that day, they will need to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country.