An ERSI report published last week indicates that a substantial number of businesses in Ireland are refusing to comply with state-imposed COVID regulations. The report found that 37% of indoor diners questioned stated that they had not been asked for proof of ‘vaccine passports’ before being seated. This is a drop of 16% in compliance in one month and indicates that the governments reliance on vaccine passports is not working.
Although there are a small number of groups calling on businesses not to apply the regulations, it would appear on the face of it that a very significant number of businesses are not willing to turn away customers and are choosing to do so unilaterally and independent of any national campaign. Several businesses have been brought to court recently for failing to apply regulations but this does not seem to be deterring other indoor dining services from also refusing to ask for ‘vaccine-certs’.
It is now accepted science that vaccinated people are as likely to spread the COVID-19 virus as unvaccinated people, especially the Delta variant. It may be the case that government policy is behind in terms of the rapidly advancing science in the field, but if the ESRI report is to be relied on, a growing number of businesses are losing their trust in the government and NPHET and are consciously choosing to refuse applying government policy.
In response to the ESRI figures on non-compliance, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (elected on the 15th count, election 2020), has said that he favours tougher penalties for non-compliant businesses. He did not comment on what a tougher approach may look like. At the time of writing, no business representative groups have responded to the Minister’s Comments.