Covid passports mandatory for church attendance in Switzerland. Is America next?
Matthias Browning

Matthias Browning September 15, 2021

Attending church in Switzerland will mean having to have a Covid passport after the country introduced new laws for indoor areas.

As of last Monday, September 13, it is now mandatory for every person in Switzerland to hold a COVID-19 passport in order to be able to attend indoor areas, including restaurants, cafeterias, shopping centers and movie theaters. Churches are included in this.

The move will have alarm bells ringing at churches across the globe, as there is the risk that a church’s welcome team may soon become door attendants, needing to sight paperwork as opposed to welcoming people through the door.

According to Evangelical Focus, the move has drawn disappointment from the Association of Free Churches in Switzerland (Freikichen) responded to the implementation of the measure on 13 September with disappointment. “Visiting a church service is something elemental for Christians. It is an individual but also communitarian and spiritual experience,” it said.

The medical pass may bring more “security”, the association says, but affects the “personal decisions” of citizens. “We have encouraged people to get vaccinated” but “we respect” the personal election of every citizen, they add. “We are focused on the proclamation of the healing message of Jesus, and on worship services in which we experience God and strive to his liveable presence in the community”.

Talking to the authorities, the group of Swiss Free Churches had asked for alternative solutions which could improve security without excluding people. Ideas such as open-air services, multiple services, and rooms with live streaming, were put on the table.

The requirement of such a document also extends to tourists visiting Switzerland for any purpose. However, if they have been vaccinated in countries outside of the European Union and the European Economic Area, their vaccination certificates will not be accepted. Instead, these travelers will have to test for COVID-19 every three days.

The issue has been raised by Switzerland Tourism (ST), which is the national marketing organization promoting Switzerland worldwide as an attractive and diverse travel destination. According to ST, travelers from other countries will need a COVID-19 certificate even to enter the restaurant area of their hotel.