From Monday, you will need a health pass to visit cultural and leisure places in Switzerland. From zoos to sports halls, including indoor swimming pools, amusement parks or historical monuments. Faced with this obligatory step, the players in the sector are mixed.
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“We are adding a new barrier to leisure areas already hard hit, by cutting off half of the pool of potential consumers,” deplores Christoph Sturny, director of Montreux Vevey Tourisme. In addition, the controls, although easy to carry out at the front desk, impose an additional cost on the institutions in terms of technology and personnel. ” At Château de Chillon, the team is ready. According to director Marta dos Santos, the difficulty still lies in the recognition of foreign covid passes, outside the Europe and Schengen zone, in particular those of American customers who have been on the rise since July. Switzerland Tourism is looking into the issue.
Uneven animal parks
As for zoos, outdoor spaces will remain free to access. Only restaurants or shops will be affected. But the indoor cages risk being doomed. “We are going to close the building dedicated to ants and rodents so as not to have to hire a person who controls visitors”, confirms Michel Gautier-Clerc, director of the La Garenne animal park in Le Vaud (VD). On the side of complexes such as Le Tropicarium or Le Papiliorama, in Chiètres (FR), sesame will be required at the entrance. “Our employees will have to play the role of the police, also checking the identity of visitors. On rainy weekends, we may call on security agents to manage the flows, ”considers Michel Ansermet, director of Aquatis in Lausanne. While it expects a drop in the number of admissions, like most of the Zoo Schweiz members with whom it interacts, the sector is not planning any action for the moment. “On the other hand, we say to ourselves that we will perhaps get back to the people who no longer dared to go out for fear of being contaminated,” he concludes.
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Among the managers of structures dedicated to the amusement of young people, apprehension is palpable. Yatouland, in Geneva, specializing in the organization of private parties, is having a last weekend without a busy health pass, since several families have brought the festivities forward to avoid the new measure. “We expect a decline in activity,” analyzes director Yan Favier. Within the Loisirs Genève collective, everyone is very worried. With one month in advance in Italy and France, our colleagues confirm a loss of 30 to 40% of the clientele, especially in spaces dedicated to adolescents and young adults who are among the least vaccinated categories. ” A feeling shared at the Laser Game Geneva, where the director Pierre-Yves Chomarat, fears that the certificate will cool nearly half of the customers during the pivotal period – October to March – for indoor leisure and company outings: “the payment charges initially postponed for cash flow problems during confinement will be difficult to settle if this anticipated drop in turnover is confirmed. ”
Fitness hard hit
If being tested before going to the cinema once a month is certainly expensive but not restrictive, it becomes impossible to reconcile the gesture before the two or three weekly sports sessions. “We are clearly the sector that will be the most impacted,” confirms Sébastien Grossini, director of Sport Quest in Geneva. It is a blow knowing that we are already in the survival. We feel trapped by the confederation: it is not our role to encourage our members to be vaccinated. We will offer the option of putting the subscriptions of those who wish it on hold, while doubling the offer of outdoor sports activities since that will be our salvation in the coming months. ”
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The indoor swimming pools and thermal baths are already displaying the new instructions on their website. At the Bains de Villars-sur-Ollon, management believes that this constraint will cause a drop at the start, followed by an assault of vaccinated people. “Given the current influx into vaccination centers, it is hoped that people will be ready for the October holidays or at least the Christmas holidays. If it is a measure which makes it possible to avoid drastic closures at the end of the year in the stations, then we must comply with it, ”analyzes Serguei Aschwanden, manager of the Villars-sur-Ollon station.