The use of Digital Covid Certificates in restaurants, bars and cafes should continue throughout the winter months to protect public health and promote strong business in the hospitality sector, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Tipperary Senator Garret Ahearn said, “As we’re seeing an increase in the number of Covid-19 positive patients in hospital and ICU, we must consider the best approach to the lifting of the remaining restrictions ahead of next Friday, October 22nd.
“I know many people wish to continue going into bars and restaurants over the winter months, but the prospect for people of sitting beside unvaccinated groups with no public health restrictions makes many feel very uncomfortable and could limit business within the hospitality sector.
“Amongst constituents and business owners that I’ve spoken with, there is a general consensus that retaining the Digital Covid Certs during the winter months for entrance to cafes, bars and restaurants would be a smart idea.
“It would provide peace of mind to customers and ensure that those who have enjoyed indoor dining over the past few months will continue to support their local hospitality businesses over the winter.
“The continuation of the Digital Covid Cert would also act as an incentive for those who are still unvaccinated to go and get the vaccine. At the moment, those entering hospital with Covid are disproportionally coming from the small sector of the unvaccinated adult population. While less than 10% of our population is unvaccinated, that group is driving around 50% of all hospital admissions.
“We need to ensure that public health is protected during the winter months and that people feel comfortable going into hospitality environments so that business remains strong for cafés, restaurants and bars in the months ahead.
“The Digital Covid Cert system has worked extremely well to date. Business owners are familiar with the set-up, and customers are now well used to presenting their Certs before they sit down. The continuation of the system is a win-win for customers and business owners alike, and also will act as an incentive for people to go and get their vaccines,” Senator Ahearn concluded.