To the 10 billion requested by the Federal Council to support “hardship” cases, the Federal Chambers finally added around 2 billion to provide assistance to the organizers of events “of supracantonal importance taking place between June 1, 2021 and April 30. 2022, which received cantonal authorization and had to be canceled or postponed by order of the authorities due to the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic ”.
This is the main change made to the Covid-19 law after the three shuttles between the two councils. This solution, found at a conciliation conference, was approved Thursday by the National Council (by 179 votes to 9, all from the UDC camp) and by the Council of States (unanimously). According to the estimate provided by Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, the additional expenditure amounts to around 2 billion francs. But the Confederation will participate only if the cantons also do so, which is not a given, he warned.
Parliament finally kept the loss of income giving entitlement to financial assistance at 40%. The National Council tried in vain to lower this threshold to 25%, then to 30%, but the obstinacy of the Council of States got the better of this idea, which would have cost several billion more to the public funds. The conciliation conference, which brings together thirteen members of each of the two preparatory commissions, has also given up on modifying the legal rules on leases. Payment deadlines for donors in difficulty by the crisis will not be extended.
Two options for sports clubs
In the field of sport, the clubs of the professional leagues will be able to choose, for non-refundable contributions, between two formulas. If they cut player salaries by 20%, they will receive aid equal to two-thirds of unrealized ticket revenue. If they renounce to reduce wages, the compensation to which they will be entitled will not exceed 50% of these missing revenues.
The Chambers also created, in the Covid-19 law, the bases allowing the creation of an immunity passport. This sesame will obviously be aimed at vaccinated people, but also at those who are cured and those who have been tested negatively.
Vote on June 13
At the start of the political discussions, other ideas had circulated. The preparatory commission of the National Council had considered muzzling the members of the scientific task force and imposing in law the date of March 22 as imperative for the reopening of restaurants and shooting ranges. Deemed to be unwelcome, these ideas were finally abandoned.
This revision of the Covid-19 law comes into force on Saturday, the day after its final adoption by the Federal Chambers on Friday. But the initial version of the law was fought by referendum. The people vote on June 13.