Hospitality industry lobby groups are protesting their members being potentially tasked with checking the immunization status of guests to dine indoors. They called Nphet’s proposal “discriminatory” and “impractical,” following the government’s decision this week to postpone the July 5 reopening date for the indoor hospitality trade.
However, the tourism and hospitality industry was much less averse to the concept earlier in the year, when it was first mentioned as a way to speed up the sector’s reopening, before it is then rejected by the government. At the time, the industry seemed to be in favor.
In early March, an opinion piece by an Irish Times reporter called for a vaccine pass system for the hotel trade on the grounds that it would facilitate trade and would prevent many companies from going unnecessarily bankrupt.
The article was tweeted with approval by an executive from the Confederation of Irish Tourism Industry (Itic), who also pointed to a quote from the article that it was “unfair to deprive companies of a business that could keep them afloat… now is the time for us to do whatever it takes to provide respite ”.
Itic is an umbrella group that includes the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), which said this week that “any plan that would require tax collectors to verify a client’s immunization status would be unworkable.” Members of Itic also include the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), which itself has also expressed support for a vaccine pass system in the past.
Yet this week, RAI criticized the concept and questioned its legality.
It’s understandable that the industry is worried about being given a vaccine pass indoors at the last moment, when they expected a full reopening. But it may well be in the hotel industry’s best interest to work with the government to design such a system. It won’t last forever.