Switzerland is the latest country to institute a vaccine passport, requiring citizens and even tourists to carry a digital certificate to dine in restaurants, among other venues.
The so-called “COVID-19 certificate” will be required for anyone over the age of 16 who wishes to enter a restaurant, as well as cultural and leisure facilities.
The rule, which applies to citizens as well as tourists, will be effective until at least Jan. 24, 2022.
As detailed by the BBC, an EU vaccine passport is available in all 27 member nations, plus Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein. The certificate can be issued if someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19, recently had a negative PCR test, or recently recovered from COVID-19 — meaning natural immunity is taken into consideration.
“Based on the overall situation, [Switzerland’s] 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,” the government statement reads.
“Consequently, all persons who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the disease, or those who have recently tested negative will be able to attend indoor places and several activities in Switzerland without being subject to restrictions,” the website reported.
“Access to cultural and leisure activities such as zoos, libraries, museums, fitness centres, water parks, swimming pools, and casinos will also be limited to only COVID-19 certificate holders. In addition, the certificate will also be mandatory for those who wish to access indoor sporting and cultural activities.”
The council adds that those who enter facilities without the certificate could face a fine of more than $100. Establishments that fail to comply with the requirement may be fined or closed down.
Switzerland’s move to embrace the EU vaccine passport comes amid the United Kingdom’s rejection of the system. Plans to introduce vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and large sporting events were scrapped by the British health secretary last week, the BBC reported.
The U.K.’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid told the outlet, “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”