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02 Dec 2021

Covid-19 compliance issues with Northern Ireland visitors ‘causing friction’

Hoteliers say asking some Northern Ireland guests for proof of Covid-19 immunity is  ‘difficult’

Donegal hoteliers concerns about tourism performance

Paul Diver said there is also a more relaxed attitude to the wearing of face masks by guests from Northern Ireland

Covid-19 compliance issues with Northern Ireland visitors causing ‘friction’ 

Hotels in Donegal are reporting increasing “friction” involving the adherence of customers from Northern Ireland to Covid-19 regulations.

Asking customers from Northern Ireland for proof of Covid-19 immunity is “more difficult” than those from the Republic, the chair of the Irish Hotels Federation in the county has said.

Paul Diver said there is also a more relaxed attitude to the wearing of face masks by guests from Northern Ireland and this is causing friction with customers who adhere to the guidelines.

“You are supplying masks and reminding them about masks continually and then you get a little bit of friction from people who are doing it right,” he said.

The owner of the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh said checking vaccination passports is more difficult with visitors from Northern Ireland, where proof of vaccination is not required to access hospitality.

The issue has been raised with him by hoteliers in the county in recent days.

While the experience does not apply to all customers from Northern Ireland, he said there are more issues involving visitors from across the Border and people from the Republic are more inclined to “self-police”.

Northern Ireland ministers voted on Wednesday in favour of Covid vaccine passports to be introduced from next month.

Under the measures, a  Covid passport or proof of a Covid test result will be required to access nightclubs, pubs or restaurants.

Mr Diver said hoteliers in Donegal would welcome the introduction of a Covid passport regime in Northern Ireland.

“It is causing friction among people who are in a restaurant and are doing everything by the book,” he said.

While asking for proof of immunity is “a burden” on the hospitality sector, he said “it is a “small price to pay” to be able to stay open, he added.

There is a difference between how people from the Republic and Northern Ireland react to being asked for vaccination certificates, he said.

“People from the Republic are very compliant with it and very supportive of it. It can be a little bit more difficult with people from Northern Ireland. They don’t have those restrictions in place so it is a bit of a shock when they come here and they are asked for all these details. But certainly, people from Donegal, when they come to restaurants and hotels, are completely compliant with it.” 

READ MORE: Hospitality industry experiencing nervousness from the public over rising Covid-19 rates

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