EU travel cert could be used as vaccination proof for indoor dining, says Varadkar

Tánaiste says allowing people to also use other forms of evidence is being examined

The reopening of indoor services was postponed after Nphet  raised concern over the possible spread of the  Delta variant of Covid-19

The reopening of indoor services was postponed after Nphet raised concern over the possible spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has suggested the EU Digital Covid Certificate can be used “practically and legally” as proof of vaccination or immunity to allow indoor hospitality services to reopen.

He also said the Government is looking at allowing people to produce other forms of evidence as well.

Mr Varadkar’s remarks come ahead of a second meeting between Government officials and representatives of the restaurant and pub sectors on how they can allow customers back indoors.

The reopening of indoor services was postponed after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) raised concern over the possible spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19.

Nphet has advised indoor hospitality should be limited to people who have been fully vaccinated and that a workable and enforceable system for how customers can prove this should be devised before indoor services resume.

The Irish Times understands Attorney General Paul Gallagher has advice prepared for various scenarios and proposals that are agreed with the hospitality sector.

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In an interview with Newstalk Breakfast Mr Varadkar was asked if the EU Digital Covid Certificate for international travel can be used for indoor hospitality here.

He replied: “It can be used both practically and legally as evidence that you’re vaccinated or you’re immune so it can be used.

Mr Varadkar added: “One of the questions we’re examining at the moment is that should we allow people to produce other forms of evidence as well.”

He said the card people get when they are vaccinated probably won’t be used as it would be “too easily forged”.

The Tánaiste said a small number of people cannot get vaccinated for particular reasons and suggested a letter from a doctor would cover such cases.

He said the issue of people coming from other countries is something that has to be considered, highlighting how people coming from the UK would have NHS evidence that they had been vaccinated.

“A lot of all that is being worked but we’re getting there,” Mr Varadkar said.

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said this morning his organisation is pressing for an agreement between Government and industry that enables all hospitality businesses to resume indoor trading from July 19th, the same date as non-essential international travel is to resume.

Elsewhere, Minister of State for eGovernment Ossian Smyth said details are being “firmed up” for a proposal on how to reopen restaurants as soon as possible.

“I think they are looking at using these digital certs for entry, and I think a proposal is likely to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday in that regard in case any new laws or regulations are required to operationalise that reopening.”

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “The important thing is that any scheme that comes up is supported by the restaurants and the pubs as being workable and reasonable and actually something that they want to use.”