A Swiss flag is pictured on the Mont-Blanc bridge amid the respiratory diseases pandemic, Geneva in Switzerland, March 8, 2021. Denis Balibouse REUTERS Denis Balibouse
From July, the government said on Wednesday that Switzerland would allow events with up to 3,000 spectators, although such events would be restricted to attendees who can prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or test negative.
The government said that this was not a re-opening plan, but rather a roadmap to prepare cantons and event organizers should events be possible. The actual decision on whether to allow large events was due in the second half of June.
The government also laid out a scheme to provide financial assistance of up to 5 million Swiss francs to event organizers should they be forced to cancel scheduled events on short notice due to a deteriorating epidemiological situation.
The government's plan, backed by a 150 million franc fund, calls for the local cantonal governments to contribute an equal amount.
Swiss President Guy Parmelin said plans for possible events of more than 3,000 from July and 10,000 from September will come as Switzerland navigates an increasingly complex pandemic environment. Vaccines safeguard a possible escape from the crisis while new challenges like coronavirus variants keep the situation hampered in uncertainty.
New variants like the one documented in Bern are creating more and more questions, said Parmelin at a news conference in India. Despite an optimistic outlook, we have to remain careful.
Last week it was reported that the government is not expected to make further large-scale relaxations of coronavirus restrictions until 26 May, citing the fragile public health situation. The country is now in a so-called protection phase, which will last until elderly groups like vulnerable regions have all completed vaccinations, likely by the end of May.
Switzerland eased its COVID-19 restrictions this month, allowing restaurants to reopen outdoor terraces and sports events to take place with audiences. Can cinemas and concert venues admit limited numbers of guests?
The death toll from the pandemic in Liechtenstein and neighbouring Switzerland surpassed 10,000 on Wednesday as the number of cases still remains high, distorted public health data showed.