Switzerland has announced that from the 13th of September, the government will require a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter various indoor activities until January 2022.
The news comes as various EU countries raise entry restrictions and ban unvaccinated U.S travelers due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
Switzerland is currently open to vaccinated U.S citizens, but the COVID-19 certificate will be enforced on all citizens and tourists inside the country.
The COVID-19 Certificate Requirement
From Monday, travelers from all countries will require a COVID-19 vaccine certificate — commonly known as a vaccine passport — to enjoy most indoor activities in Switzerland.
A statement from the Swiss Federal Council stated, “Based on the overall situation, the Federal Council has decided to extend the certificate requirement for persons aged 16 and over. This is to prevent hospitals from being overstretched. It will take two to three weeks for this measure to have an impact on the situation in the hospitals.”
Travelers will require the certificate until January 24 2022 at the earliest for the following activities:
- Private events
In addition, access to fitness centers, swimming pools, museums, cultural events, casinos, zoos, libraries, and water parks will be limited to certificate holders only. Therefore, Switzerland isn’t a great place to visit if you’re currently unvaccinated.
There are some exceptions though. For example, the Swiss Federal Council stated that in order to protect fundamental humans rights, self-help groups, religious ceremonies, and political events of up to 50 people don’t require the vaccine certificate.
Moreover, the Swiss Federal Council has stated there will be a 92 Euro fine for anyone who breaches these rules. The council added, “Establishments and event organizers that do not comply with the certificate requirement may be fined or even closed down. The cantons are responsible for monitoring compliance.”
The Swiss authorities suggested that anyone who’s received a vaccine from the European Medicines Agency can get a Swiss COVID Certificate.
The COVID-19 Situation In Switzerland
Switzerland is currently witnessing a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the previous month. The current 7-day case average is 3,195, which has quadrupled in the previous 6 weeks.
However, Switzerland does have a high vaccination rate. Reports suggest that Switzerland has fully vaccinated 57 percent of its population after administering almost 10 million vaccine doses so far.
Nonetheless, the Swiss authorities expect there might be an increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks and that’s why they’ve implemented mandatory vaccine passports for almost all indoor activities.
The Current Situation In Europe For U.S Travelers
Europe almost fully reopened at the start of the summer for U.S tourists. However, following a rise in Delta variant cases in the United States, Europe has slowly started to implement more restrictions.
In the previous week alone, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Italy have closed to unvaccinated U.S tourists and increased testing requirements on vaccinated travelers. Furthermore, Bulgaria and Sweden have implemented a ban on U.S tourists regardless of their vaccination status for non-essential travel.
The restrictions come after the EU removed the United States from its safe list of countries and advised EU member states to start enforcing restrictions on U.S tourists. However, the news has frustrated the travel industry and left many American travelers confused and disappointed.
There are likely going to be additional restrictions on U.S travelers in the next couple of weeks, and despite the world partially reopening — this news suggests we’re still far from being back to normal.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories