Uncomfortable hotel owners ask for medical information
As plans to use the vaccination pass as a way to reopen domestic hospitality crystallize, bar and restaurant owners have expressed concerns about the plans’ viability.
Noel Keane, chef and owner of Croí restaurant in Tralee says he wants to see his business open but has doubts about the government’s strategy.
“I would like to know where the government made the decision that moved us from restaurateurs to the Covid police,” Mr Keane said.
Mr Keane said he can already foresee a number of issues with the plans, such as if there is a data protection issue, if children need to be separated from their parents if they are not vaccinated , and whether it is acceptable for him to discriminate against those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
He also said he wouldn’t expect his staff to check clients for the vaccine pass.
Mike McMahon, of the Mother Macs pub in Limerick City, said there was still a lot of confusion around the vaccine card and pointed to one particular flaw that concerned him.
“One of the things that most ironically jumps out at me because you might almost expect me to ask a client if they are vaccinated, but I can’t ask a staff member.
“On top of that, a lot of my staff are young, which means it is likely that the person requesting proof of vaccination will not themselves be vaccinated,” Mr McMahon said.
He also stressed that there is currently no law regarding vaccination cards, adding that he was concerned that he or his staff could be prosecuted if they refused someone because of their vaccination status.
Chris Heinhold owns the West Café and Wine Bar in Bantry. He said they made the choice not to open indoors for the foreseeable future.
Mr Heinfold said he could not see the vaccination card being operational “anytime soon” and added that he would not feel comfortable asking people for medical records to make a reservation for a restaurant .
“Our food is good, but I still won’t ask someone for a medical record,” he added.
Minister of State Peter Burke, speaking in Cork, where he visited restaurants around Princes Street, said he was confident the issue would be resolved.
“One thing I would say is that there has been a huge buy-in from the community,” he said.
“If we continue to do this, I am happy and confident that we will get a solid solution ahead of time for the 19th,” Minister Burke said, adding that he understood the importance of each day in July and August for the sector.