Swiss People To Vote On Lockdown During Pandemic
The people of Switzerland will have to decide how much power the authorities can have during a pandemic. According to The Wall Street Journal, this summer the country is to hold a referendum on the right of the Swiss government to impose lockdowns and other restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The reason for putting the issue to a national vote was the Swiss authorities’ decision to close all bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and stores that do not sell essential goods. The Swiss government did not impose severe restrictions until mid-December of last year. However, a sharp increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 forced the authorities to take drastic measures.
The decision expectedly caused a negative reaction from businesses, especially owners of ski resorts, which were forced to close at the height of the winter season. In addition, a survey by the Sotomo Research Institute showed that 55% of the inhabitants consider the introduction of restrictive measures as an attack on their personal freedom.
According to Swiss law, to put the issue to a referendum, a citizen must create a petition and collect 50,000 signatures. A petition to limit the powers of the authorities in case of a pandemic has gathered about 86,000 signatures. The referendum could take place in June of this year.