Switzerland has lifted virtually all of its COVID restrictions put in place with the arrival of the omicron variant last fall.
Restrictions were lifted Thursday across the country with only a few minor exceptions.
“The light on the horizon is very visible,” President Ignazio Cassis said in making the announcement. “The virus is there. We are learning how to live with the virus.”
Cassis said his office would not hesitate to reimpose restrictions if a new variant were to emerge or numbers from omicron start to go up again.
The nation has been successful in bringing numbers down and getting the population vaccinated. More than 90 percent of the country is fully vaccinated.
“The acute phase is over,” said Health Minister Alain Berset, according to Reuters.
The new rules mean a lifting of restrictions on restaurants, bars, clubs, and other businesses where masks and proof of vaccination had been required for entry.
“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Casimir Platzer, head of the Gastrosuisse catering sector lobby.
The country of more than 8 million people is averaging about 20,000 cases and 10 deaths per day, numbers that are significantly lower than late 2021.
“The epidemiological situation continues to develop positively,” the government said, according to the Associated Press. “Thanks to the high level of immunity among the population, it is unlikely that the health care system will be overburdened despite the continued high level of virus circulation.”
The new rules mean travelers to Switzerland will also be less burdened.
“Health-related measures for persons entering the country are to be lifted. It will no longer be necessary to provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test or complete an entry form,” the government said.
A few restrictions will remain in place, however.
Masks On Public Transportation
Visitors and residents riding buses, taxis, or in airports or airplanes will still be required to keep masks on.
Masks In Health Care Facilities
Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care facilities will also require masks to be worn at all times.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will have to self-isolate for a minimum of five days.
Pro Tip: For entry requirements for each European country, see our country-by-country guide.