Seven in 10 hospitality leaders oppose Covid passports

Seven in 10 hospitality leaders oppose Covid passports

A new poll has revealed 72% of hospitality industry leaders here don’t support the proposed imposition of Covid passports.

Seven in 10 Hospitality Ulster members claimed it would inflict further damage to an industry that is still on its knees fighting for survival.

The representative body polled its members in response to the news that Health Minister Robin Swann is to ask his executive colleagues to back the compulsory use of Covid passports in certain settings.

Hospitality Ulster said that if they are imposed they must be evidence based, targeted, time bound and come with support for impacted businesses.

Chief executive Colin Neill added: “Businesses in the industry are fighting for their very survival and cannot support additional measures that single them out and bring further damage to the sector.”

“The Covid Passport, and the reasons for it, has been talked about for some time, but we are yet to hear anything from the Executive around the financial and operational implications if it goes ahead, especially just before the critical Christmas trading period.

‘Questions remain’

“Many in the industry are worried that this will be imposed on the sector, just because it might feel like this is the right thing to do.

“In theory, it all sounds simple, but it isn’t. Questions remain unanswered – what is a phased approach; what premises are included; what about unvaccinated staff; what about the impact on jobs and business viability?

“The Scottish hospitality industry is reporting more than a 20% reduction in trade, increased costs, and considerable consumer aggression as they try to enforce Covid Passports. Where is the economic impact assessment for Covid Passports in Northern Ireland; where is the plan to support our hospitality businesses that will likely see footfall and viability impacted if they are imposed?

“Obviously, the executive has the power to impose Covid Passports, but it will be the hospitality sector who will be left to carry the financial and operational burden. It would appear, that little or no consideration has been given to the business owners and staff who will be left to enforce the scheme.

“The Executive now needs to show us the evidence; show us the economic impact assessment; show us the support package for businesses and address the fears of hospitality business owners before they impose Covid Passports.”