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Covid travel certificates to be issued from next Monday; resumption of indoor hospitality is also being considered by government

DUBLIN: Government has announced that the EU Digital COVID Certificates will be issued in Ireland beginning next Monday. Although the certificate was designed primarily to facilitate international travel, it may also be used for the resumption of indoor hospitality. Discussions were held between the hospitality sector and government officials to see whether the document could be used more widely, and the Tánaiste said that he expects to bring proposals to Cabinet on this matter next week.

The ‘vaccine passport,’ which is set to go live on July 19, will be issued to the 1.8 million people who have been fully vaccinated. Those who were vaccinated after registering on the HSE portal will receive their documentation through email, while those who received their vaccine through a GP, or a pharmacy, will receive a letter in the post. Each letter contains a code that can be scanned into a smartphone.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that a call center will be set up to assist those who do not receive their certificates on time. He alerted travellers that some initial delays at airports are possible as part of document verification and urged them to plan ahead of time.

Mr. Varadkar said passengers must follow two sets of rules when arriving at the destination and returning to Ireland. He said a PCR check is not required to leave the country, but would be required when returning to Ireland.

The certs will allow those who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last nine months to return from abroad without restrictions or quarantine. However, Mr. Varadkar said that people who have recovered from the virus will need a laboratory confirmation of this, in addition to a negative PCR test.

The Tánaiste also warned that those who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID should avoid traveling abroad before July 19.

Indoor hospitality

Leo Varadkar, who is also the Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, said he expects to present proposals to Cabinet next Tuesday on whether this document can be used as a basis to facilitate indoor hospitality. However, he indicated that the government will not consider implementing this before July 19.

He said the use of COVID-19 testing as a criterion for availing indoor hospitality is also under consideration. But he added that “there are difficulties” with it. “We wouldn’t have the capacity to carry out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of PCR tests for people to go to a restaurant or a pub,” he said.

Earlier, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said there will be no big changes to the country’s reopening and that the government will do it “step by step”.

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said the Government is eager to see indoor dining resume as soon as possible. “We are making real progress and I think with goodwill on all sides, we think we can get there quite quickly,” Mr. McGrath said.

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