A Cork publican has expressed frustration that a vaccine pass system looks like the “only show in town” to allow the resumption of indoor hospitality.
Michael O’Donovan, owner of the Castle Inn on South Main Street and Cork city chairman of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) said he envisages the measure, which looks increasingly likely to transpire, will be “problematic at best” to implement.
“It seems like it’s the only show in town, it’s the only way that we’re going to get open with this vaccination certificate,” he said.
Talks in relation to the return of indoor dining continued this afternoon between Government officials and the hospitality industry.
Following today’s meeting, six reopening scenarios will be presented to Cabinet for a final decision next Tuesday, a statement from the VFI said.
While six options will be presented to Government, it is understood most of the discussions focused on devising a system that allows only vaccinated people and those recovered from Covid to dine and drink indoors.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also confirmed today that primary legislation will be needed to provide a legislative framework to enable the reopening of indoor hospitality in line with the public health advice the Government has received.
“That was our commitment, to have a plan ready.
“It will mean the introduction of primary legislation to facilitate this and the reopening of hospitality.
“There has been further engagement the last number of days on that and over the weekend we’ll be fine-tuning that legislation,” he said.
Mr Martin added that this will be “short legislation”.
Speaking to, Mr O’Donovan said if the vaccine pass system is what’s required then the onus is now on Government to get the legislation passed next week before the Oireachtas takes its summer break.
He added that the wait is frustrating for businesses who are currently in limbo.
“We’re about 10 days out from July 19 and we’re going to be waiting until next week to see if there’s the political will to get this through the Dáil to enable us to reopen on July 19.
“It’s hugely frustrating again that we’re going to go around on the merry-go-round,” he said.
“Under these circumstances, it’s really difficult that we’re effectively going to become agents of the State in operating this system,” he added.
Liam Edwards of Jim Edwards restaurant in Kinsale and a member of the national council of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) voiced similar concerns.
He said he has “serious reservations” and would be “nervous” about the logistics of implementing a vaccine pass system.
“We’ve got an outside dining area here so the facilities non-vaccinated people will be using will be the same facilities used by vaccinated people,” he said.
“We definitely want to get our doors open, I’m just nervous that the buck will stop with us as far as the whole control measure of it all,” he added.
Mr Edwards pointed out that only allowing those who are fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid-19 to dine indoors puts those working in hospitality in an awkward position.
“We run a restaurant in a small town where we know a lot of people and I just don’t want to be the one to be refusing people.”