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EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s 2G-Plus rule?

When the Federal Council announced the ‘2G’ rule to go into effect in Switzerland on December 20th, it also referred to ‘2G-Plus’ in certain situations. What is this ‘plus’ rule and when must it be used?

The ‘2G-Plus’ rule applies in discos and other venues where sitting at a table is not possible. Photo by Antoine J. on Unsplash
The ‘2G-Plus’ rule applies in discos and other venues where sitting at a table is not possible. Photo by Antoine J. on Unsplash

If you haven’t been reading news lately and are confused about what all these Gs stand for, here’s a quick explanation.

Until recently, most countries in Europe adhered to the ‘3G’ rule, which in German means Geimpft, Genesen, Getestet (vaccinated, recovered, tested).

3G-compliant venues would mandate that attendees needed to be either vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative for the virus. 

However, as the epidemiological situation got worse, countries like Austria, Germany,  France, and now also Switzerland, adopted the ‘2G’ measure, dropping “tested” from the rule.

This means that people who have not been fully vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid within the past four months, cannot access indoor venues and events such as restaurants — as long as food can be consumed while sitting at a table — cultural establishments, as well as sports and leisure facilities.

READ MORE: 2G: Switzerland targets unvaccinated with new Covid measures

In practical terms, this means that people wanting to access indoor venues and activities will have to show their Covid certificate to prove they are eligible under one of the two categories.

Those who are unvaccinated or not recovered from Covid, but merely tested, are no longer allowed entry under the new rules.

READ MORE: ‘It strengthens the fight’: How Switzerland reacted to new Covid rules

What about the ‘2G-Plus’?

One aspect of the new measures in place since December 20th is the 2G-Plus rule. 

It is intended to prevent the spread of the virus in places where certain protective measures can’t be maintained.

It applies in situations where the requirement to be seated while eating or drinking can’t be met — for example in bars and clubs — and masks can’t be worn.

“In settings where masks cannot be worn, such as brass band practice, or where it is not possible to eat or drink while seated, admission will be limited to vaccinated or recovered persons who also present a negative test result,” the Federal Council said when it announced the new rules on Friday.

However, “people who within the last four months have been fully vaccinated, received a booster or recovered from COVID-19 do not have to take a further test”, authorities said.

What does this mean?

if you are have not been inoculated against Covid or recovered from it within the last four months, you need a test (PCR or antigen) to go to any places where seating is not guaranteed and where masks can’t be worn.

The same applies if you have been fully vaccinated or recovered more than four months ago and have not had a booster shot since then.

Since December 18th, testing has again been free in Switzerland. 

Covid testing free again in Switzerland: What you need to know

These rules will be in place until January 24th, 2022, at the earliest.

Member comments

  1. How is swimming in a chlorinated pool where covid transmission is impossible considered 2g+ but eating and talking in indoor restaurants considered only 2g? It’s absurd and these incongruities lead to less respect overall for the rules. Pools are safe and should be accessible at least until we have had the chance to get boosters.

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Can children be vaccinated without parental consent in Switzerland?

A vaccine-skeptic parent in Aargau was forced by a court to vaccinate her child. Whether for Covid or otherwise, what are the rules in Switzerland?

Can children be vaccinated without parental consent in Switzerland?

In late February, a Swiss court handed down an order requiring a mother to vaccinate her child against several childhood diseases including diphtheria. tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and pneumococci.

The mother, a vaccination sceptic who believed all forms of vaccination constitute bodily harm, was engaged in a dispute with the child’s father, who wanted the child vaccinated. 

On the basis of consultations with the child’s doctor, the Chamber for the Protection of Children and Adults in the Aargau Supreme Court dismissed the mother’s complaint.

Child vaccinations could only be avoided on doctor’s advice, the court held, saying the studies and arguments the mother produced “lacked evidence”. 

The court held she faced up to CHF10,000 in fines if she refused to have her child vaccinated. 

What are the rules in Switzerland?  

Do parents need to consent for their children to be vaccinated?

No. In the midst of the Covid pandemic, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset confirmed to parliament that parental consent is not required in order for children to be vaccinated, whether for Covid or otherwise. 

While some parents, particularly those who are sceptical about vaccines, may be dismayed by the decision, the position is valid in Swiss law.

READ MORE: How to register for the coronavirus vaccine in your Swiss canton

Children aged 12 and over can decide whether they want to be vaccinated, while parents can be compelled with fines to vaccinate their children under that age. 

Berset said minors from the age of 12 and up were “largely capable of judgement” and therefore can make their own decisions with regard to vaccinations, provided they are mentally healthy and conscious.

Where a child from the age of 12 satisfies this standard “no parental or legal guardian consent is required”.

Parents are only allowed to have a say on whether their child gets vaccinated if the child is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make the decision.

“Only if a child or a young person is incapable of judgment do the owners of parental authority have to give consent to the vaccination,” concludes Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health.