Switzerland to hold referendum on COVID-19 law

Switzerland will hold a referendum today on pandemic control laws including vaccine requirements and emergency funding. Since September, the government

Photo: Peter Klaunzer/Keystone

Switzerland will hold a referendum today on pandemic control laws including vaccine requirements and emergency funding.

Since September, the government has required a certificate indicating COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a negative test, to enter bars, restaurants and certain indoor and outdoor events.

This is the second vote on the government’s pandemic response, with 60% of voters in June approving an extension of national measures. The laws have proven highly divisive—even leading to death threats–in a country typically proud of its societal harmony. Still, most political parties—except for the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party—support the government’s laws.

Expect Swiss voters to back the government’s pandemic measures in today’s referendum by a clear majority, especially given the public support from major parties. While COVID-19 certificates have proven unpopular with the Swiss even outside of the far right, voters are unlikely to sacrifice increased government aid as a means of freeing themselves from the certificate’s restraints. The referendum marks a rare test of public opinion on a European government’s pandemic response. Support for today’s referendum will likely embolden other Western European nations to continue with their own measures amidst increased continental anger at fresh lockdowns.

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