People enjoy drinking Guinness outside a pub in central Dublin. Monday, July 5, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland.
NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images
DUBLIN – Despite the spread of the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant, Ireland is betting on “vaccine passes” to completely reopen its bars and restaurants.
Ireland’s tourism and hospitality business has been busy with stop-and-starts for reopening throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The in-house service resumed on July 26 in some photo finished with the government and the hospitality industry finalizing the guidelines for reopening that same morning. This included final changes to the restaurant’s contact tracking requirements.
The key differentiator this time around is that restaurants and bars can only open their doors to people who have been completely vaccinated, or to people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. Outdoor seating will remain available for all pointers.
The big test for companies will be managing these checks on customers ’vaccination status.
The primary means of testing vaccination will be through the EU’s Covid Digital Certificate, the same document that Europe puts in place its hope to revive tourism on the continent.
Restaurants and bars will be expected to scan the QR code of the certificate and verify a customer’s ID to verify that they are fully vaccinated.
Noel Anderson is general manager of the Dublin restaurants Lemon & Duke and The Bridge 1859, and is also president of the commercial organization of the Vintners Licensed Association.
He told CNBC that in the early days of reopening, customers were still opting to sit outside, but their staff was trained in the new protocols, especially when the summer weather fades.
“I firmly believe in two or three weeks that it will settle down and this will be just the norm. Hopefully it won’t be the norm for too long,” he said.
He and several other hospitality companies were opposed to the requirement for vaccine checks at the door.
“At the end of the day it was a government initiative. This was not driven by pubs, in fact by the LVA, of which I am president, we didn’t want it,” he said.
“Either you want to stay closed until September and after, or so it opens up. When you have members who are closed [for over a year], you don’t have a real choice but to take it. “
The requirement for proof of vaccination to enter a place has attracted some criticism with statements that it will be discriminatory for non-vaccinated people while so-called vaccines pass or passports they can also be complicated initiatives to implement from a data protection and security perspective.
A spokesman for Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said hospitality companies should be cautious about the amount of data they are collecting and processing and deleting information that is not available. necessary.
“Owners / operators must not keep a record identifying the called persons and the details of their vaccinations, or copies of any certificates or identification documents, as this is not necessary to meet their compliance obligations,” he said. said the DPC.
The processing of personal data must be “justified on the basis of necessity and proportionality,” he said.
“The DPC also made it clear that Covid-related legislation should be time-bound and limited to the duration of the pandemic due to sunset clauses, as a safeguard to prevent the processing of personal data in an excessive and disproportionate manner.” .
Ireland will not be an outlier in Europe for long when it comes to vaccines happening in the hospitality industry with France and Italy introducing similar requirements to enter bars, restaurants and cafes.
Not all bars and restaurants are eager to reopen their interior service. Pantibar, a famous gay bar in Dublin, he chose to keep it doors closed on indoor service that most of their young staff are not yet fully vaccinated.
Barry McNerney, another restaurateur, told CNBC that his restaurants, Juniors and Paulie’s Pizza, are not in a hurry to reopen at home.
“I don’t know if there’s a huge demand for food indoors. Many places have a young clientele, many of them won’t be vaccinated so they can’t actually eat.”
McNerney decided to wait and see how other companies deal with the new protocols and vaccine controls before immersion.
“We’ll see how other operators get involved and then find out from them what the logistical challenges are.”
The growing numbers of Covid homes in Ireland are still on many companies despite the gradual reopening of the economy. The numbers of cases have increased steadily in recent weeks, driven by the delta variant, with an average daily number above 1,000.
The further reopening of hospitality services has provoked criticism with the moves compared to the frightening spike in homes in late December when restrictions were lifted by Christmas, which eventually led to blockade measures until spring. .
A crucial difference for the Christmas wave is that the introduction of Irish vaccines is moving at a pace, following a start of sputtering at the beginning of the year. On Friday, 3.2 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine with 2.4 million double doses. The vaccination program is now under 18 years of age.