The word of the week here has been COVID. What about on the other side of the Atlantic? Julie and I keep waiting for more restrictions to come down. Switzerland has blown by all the stop signs the Government said would trigger. the daily case count is higher than it has ever been and hospitals are over flowing. Zürich has been out of ICU beds for two weeks now, and three or four other cantons reached that level in the past week. This week the government announced they were mobilizing the medical units of the Army like they did the very first wave February and March 2020. It seems surreal that back then new cases were only about 1000 per day. Yet I remember one of the headlines that was very close to “Switzerland has the biggest military call up since World War II.” Switzerland’s new case count now is hovering about 10,000, with the highest daily count reaching 19.500.
The Government is meeting this weekend to discuss further steps. Right now to enter Switzerland you have to: 1. be able to show proof of vaccination, 2. have a negative PCR test 72 hours before travel, and 3. have a 2nd negative test taken between day 4 and 7 of your stay. Based on the rumors I am reading the travel restrictions will probably not change unless things get even worse than they are. The two plans the Government has sent to the Cantons are:
Variant 1: 2G plus mask
The first path tightens the Covid certificate to vaccinated and recovered people, meaning that negative tests no longer qualify for the certificate.
In effect, this means restricting indoor areas only to the vaccinated and those recovered from the virus.
Masks must be worn indoors except for when sitting. Bars and restaurants are required to have allocated seating. Food and drink can only be consumed at a person’s seat.
If the venue cannot operate with allocated seating – for instance clubs, choirs, brass music concerts and rehearsals – then attendees would need to be 2G compliant (vaccinated or recovered) as well as providing a negative test.
This is known as 2G+.
Venues like fitness centres and restaurants are able to dispense with mask rules and allocated seating if they require visitors to show a test in addition to their vaccinated and recovered status.
2nd path: Partial closures
The second path tightens the Covid certificate to vaccinated and recovered people, meaning that negative tests no longer qualify for the certificate.
Under this path, indoor areas of bars, restaurants, clubs etc would have to close for everyone, i.e. not just the unvaccinated.
Sporting and cultural activities – i.e. amateur sport – would be restricted to 2G compliant people from age 16 and up.
Eating and drinking would no longer be allowed at outdoor sporting events.
I do not see many places willing to adopt the 2nd path. The other thing that neither plan addresses is work from home. I think work from home is going to be part of anything that is eventually tried. I am kind of surprised this is not part of the plans that have been published. In my mind, one of the realities is that unless some restrictions are put on the ski slopes nothing else will matter. Most of the slopes are already open this year and this time of year the ski slopes are where you find the biggest crowds. I have not seen any thing talking about limiting the number of people in gondolas, or wearing masks while in the lift lines. After living here for the last two years the one thing I have learned is that if you want to impact something in Switzerland from Dezember to März it had better impact the ski slopes if it has any hope of working.
Julie and I are taking it easy we do not want to risk catching it now since in 7 days we will be on a plane heading west across the Atlantic!
We have left the apartment this week, but not very often. We ran downtown this afternoon. I had not taken any pictures of the tree in the train station (See Above.) That is one of my favorite things about living here. I just love seeing that tree. Julie also needed to head into her office to drop off the Secret Santa gift. She is working from home this coming week; so it was either do it today or be the office grinch! Julie was looking for some chocolate santas and deer like we saw last weekend. Sorry the picture is not that good. We really liked the buck teeth on the deer, but it was Sunday morning and the store was closed.
It has snowed almost every day this week, but you can barely tell it down at our level, but the the hills surrounding Zürich are snow covered, and the Alps are almost completely white again.
The 12th is supposed to be clear so we are going to try the Rapperswil Christmas market again. Last weekend it was rainy and windy we would like to go when the weather is nice!
We have our appointments made for Covid testing before we head home, and other than a couple of trips to the grocery store we probably will not leave the apartment next week! I have a lot of cleaning to do this week since we hopefully have three visitors flying back after Christmas.
My last thought before closing out tonight, is what the heck happened to Indiana in Wisconsin? I mean the last time IU won in Wisconsin our oldest was only 1 year old. I do not what happens to the IU BB team when they get to Badger Land, but somehow the team seems to lose itself. Even worse is getting a 22 point lead and blowing it. The only thing that makes me feel a LITTLE BIT good is knowing IU still holds the series lead by over 20 games. How bad was Wisconsin in the past? Hopefully something exciting
will happen this week so I actually have something to write about before we head to the US for Christmas!
Talk to you soon.