People will need to show a Covid status certificate to enter bars, restaurants and fitness centers in Switzerland from Monday, the government ordered, in a move to relieve pressure on hospitals struggling to deal with a fourth wave of infections.
The government last week halted criticism over the move – which was initially set to last four months – amid a public debate over whether it goes too far to infringe on people’s freedom, Reuters reports.
But with the situation in hospitals so tense and some operations postponed, the government went ahead with the plan on Wednesday.
Minister of Health Alain Berset He said at a press conference in Bern:
The situation remains precarious with more than 3,500 cases today. The alternative is to shut everything down, and we’ll do everything we can to avoid that.
A Swiss Covid certificate provides evidence of vaccination, recovery from infection or a negative test result.
The move was criticized by the hospitality sector, which it said would hurt sales at a time when the pandemic has shown signs of abating.
Casimir Platzer, head of the hospitality and food sector, the lobby GastroSuisse, demanding that the state compensate companies for lost revenue:
This decision is disproportionate and leads to blatantly unequal treatment of the population.
Its expanded use has turned into the focus of attention as the number of new infections in Switzerland and its small neighbor Liechtenstein showed the highest infection rate in continental Europe.
More than 800,000 people have contracted the respiratory disease since the pandemic began. The death toll exceeded 10,500.
Just over half of Switzerland’s population is fully vaccinated, which lags behind the rate in other European countries.
The government is also considering new travel restrictions for people who have not been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. This could include quarantine or testing for Covid-19.
Individuals may be required to submit a negative test result to enter the country, regardless of where or how they arrived.