Voters in the lakeside town of Hergiswil in central Switzerland have backed a scheme to give each adult resident a voucher worth CHF500 ($528) to spend in shops and businesses to boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a local vote on June 28 the citizens of Hergiswil, which has a population of 5,800, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a loan of CHF2.6 million for “Corona vouchers” for local residents.
Under the scheme, each adult in the wealthy town in canton Nidwalden on Lake Lucerne will receive a voucher worth CHF500 to spend in Hergiswil restaurants, shops and businesses by the end of the year.
“The aim is to provide financial relief to people and households and to increase the turnover of local businesses as soon as possible,” the local council said.
“The municipal council is convinced that this measure will boost consumer demand and thus support the economic cycle locally at short notice.”
The idea has gained favour in a number of other Swiss cantons and municipalities to boost businesses and tourism.
The city of Zug, for example, last month set up a Covid fund worth CHF10 million, with a large share going towards local train businesses. Each local train user will receive a voucher worth CHF100 to spend on train travel.
Similar voucher schemes have been launched in cantons Obwalden, Nidwalden, Uri, Ticino, Thurgau and Valais.