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02 Jul 2022

'They really need to enforce these rules' - Tánaiste issues warning to hospitality sector

'They really need to enforce these rules' - Tánaiste issues warning to hospitality sector

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has promised "enforcement actions" against business that are non-compliant.

Leo Varadkar has said the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will be carrying out increased checks on business to ensure they are following the rules and guidelines around Covid-19 vaccine certs.

The Tánaiste said if the hospitality sector wants to remain open, "they really need to enforce" these guidelines over the coming months as he promised "enforcement actions" against business that are non-compliant.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One he said:

“Bear in mind that the reports back from the HSA are broadly positive and it does show that the vast majority of operators are in compliance but some are not.

"We need to make sure that we carry out more inspections and we carry out more enforcement actions against those that are not [compliant].

“Particularly, [we need] to appeal to the sector that if they want to stay open, they really need to enforce these rules.

“It does [need to be expanded] and we are doing that. It’s important to say that it’s not just the HSA that completes checks and about 46,000 checks have been carried out since May 2020.

"707 of those have been done since July by the HSA so there are lots of different bodies doing inspections but we do intend to step them up,” added the Tánaiste.

Mr. Varadkar's comments came as Government officials met with industry bosses from the hospitality sector to discuss compliance and other factors following surveys from the ESRI that revealed last week that the number of people who haven't had their Covid certs checked in pubs has risen from 21 per cent to 37 per cent.

Representatives from pubs, restaurants and nightclub groups said at today's meeting there is a need for sanctions for those who are not asking for Covid certs.

Government officials also told the sector of their plans for communications campaigns to increase the enforcement of Covid certs.

Meanwhile, Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy has called for a helpline to report hospitality businesses which do not check Covid certs saying that she would be in favour of a stricter clampdown on business that are not following the rules.

She said a helpline would mean HSE and HSA officers conducting checks could target the businesses which are not in full compliance.

“A helpline is one of the things that was looked for, where people can ring and say, ‘Look, I wasn’t checked’. So that you’re actually going after places that are non-compliant, rather than going into places that are fully compliant.

“I think that’s only fair to the ones that are in compliance,” she said.

 

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