One in three pubs and restaurants checked by HSE not fully compliant, figures show

Since vaccine pass introduced 9,800 ‘compliance checks have been carried out by HSE inspectors

Almost a third of pubs and restaurants checked by the HSE have been found not to be in full compliance with Covid-19 regulations since reopening last July. Photograph:iStock

Almost a third of pubs and restaurants checked by the HSE have been found not to be in full compliance with Covid-19 regulations since reopening last July. Photograph:iStock

 

Almost a third of pubs and restaurants checked by the HSE have been found not to be in full compliance with Covid-19 regulations since reopening last July.

The figures come as the Government prepares for the reopening of nightclubs and music venues which have been closed for more than a year and a half. Like pubs and restaurants, these venues will be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines and check if customers have valid certificates showing they have been vaccinated against the virus.

The enforcement of Covid-19 regulations in indoor premises has mainly been a matter for the HSE and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), with the majority of on-site inspections being carried out by the former agency.

Since July 26th, when the vaccine pass system was introduced and licensed premises were allowed reopen fully, 9,800 “compliance checks” have been carried out by HSE inspectors.

Of these, 30 per cent had chosen not to reopen their indoor sections for dining despite having permission. Another 14 per cent were either not trading “or were not accessible at the time of the visit,” the HSE said.

Of the remaining 5,621 businesses inspected 69 per cent (3,864) were found to be in compliance with the regulations while 28 per cent (1,593) “were found to require additional compliance measures,” according to figures released to the Irish Times.

The remaining two per cent (136 premises) have been classed as fully “non-compliant”.

A HSE spokeswoman said that its compliance officers are continuing to “actively engage and follow up with business operators” who require additional compliance measures.

“Where persistent non-compliance is observed, enforcement action is being taken by the HSE.”

This enforcement action can include fines of up to €2,500 and referral to the Garda which can object to the renewal of licenses for pubs and restaurants in the District Court. It is understood no premises have been closed to date for not enforcing the Covid vaccine pass system.

The HSE and the HSA will also be responsible for the enforcement of Covid-19 regulations in nightclubs and other late night venues following the Government’s announcement on Tuesday.

The Garda said its members are not considered “compliance officers” for the regulations under the current regime.

“Any change to that will require a change in statutory regulations, which are a matter for the Department of Health, ” a spokesman said.