Switzerland has followed France in making it mandatory to show a Covid health pass to enter public places, including restaurants, from September 13. We explain the situation for travellers from France.
The Federal Council of Switzerland announced this week that anyone over the age of 16 will need to show a pass to enter spaces such as cinemas, indoor sports events, restaurants and bars, exhibition halls, museums and galleries.
This will apply until at least January 24, 2022; or if the hospital situation improves before then.
How does the measure apply to travellers INTO Switzerland?
When it comes to non-immunised and unvaccinated individuals, the Federal Council is set to confirm on September 17 how the new measure will affect entry into Switzerland for foreign nationals, including people travelling from France.
This could include repeated tests, or requirement to quarantine, and/or the presentation of a negative test on entering the country.
Failure to comply with a quarantine requirement in Switzerland can currently lead to a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (about €9,200).
For vaccinated individuals, the French health pass is valid in Switzerland (and vice versa; Swiss health passes are valid in France too).
It can be presented in hard copy or digital form, including through the TousAntiCovid app, as long as it displays a valid QR code.
If travelling FROM Switzerland TO France:
- You can scan a Swiss hard copy of your QR code directly in the TousAntiCovid app.
- If you are vaccinated, you must have proof of an approved EU vaccination (at least seven days ago for all vaccines except the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, which requires four weeks).
You must also sign and present a ‘declaration d’honneur’, which can be downloaded here, swearing that you do not have any Covid symptoms, and have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days.
- If you are not vaccinated, travellers over age 12 must show proof of a negative Covid test from the past 72 hours, or a certificate of recovery more than 11 days old, and within six months old.
You must also show the aforementioned declaration d’honneur form.
These rules do not apply, however, if you live near the border and are within 30km of your home, or if you are travelling for obligatory work reasons.
More details on the rules can be found on the government website here.
How does the Covid situation in Switzerland compare to France?
According to the most recent figures from the Swiss Federal Health Ministry, only 59.01% of the eligible population has so far received a vaccine injection, and just 52.35% are fully vaccinated.
This is much less than in France where, out of 58 million eligible French people, only about 20% are not yet fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to figures from early September.
This has led the Swiss government to justify its new rules, as "the situation in hospitals remains tense and the occupation of intensive care beds is [still] very high".
In a press release, it said that the number of infections is increasing in the country and "the proportion of the population that is not immunised is still too high to prevent a new and significant wave of infections".
The vast majority of the Swiss cantons (regions) have supported the health pass move. Regional governments will now be tasked with ensuring that the measures are respected.
It comes as France is soon set to require the health pass for all children and teenagers aged 12-17, as well as all adults.