Israel leading by example for the future of pubs in Ireland

By | March 8, 2021

Israel has over 40% of the country fully inoculated against COVID-19. Irish pubs could follow their example and employ the same strategy to reopen pubs, restaurants and other amenities.

Israel has already seen nearly five million of its citizens receive the first dose of the vaccines, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extensive vaccine programme.

Restaurants, bars and cafes have reopened from today, for vaccinated “green pass” holders, an initiative launched last month, that allows for controlled numbers to use amenities if they can provide proof of a full vaccination.

The Green Pass initiative has been heralded by the country’s government, with the Prime Minister describing it as “coming to life” as he is seen cutting into a pastry in a Jerusalem café, on a video posted to Facebook this morning.

“Just have to get a few hundred thousand more people… especially the over 50s, and we’ll be done,” the Prime Minister added.

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As part of the initiative Tel Aviv opened its first “vaccination bar”, which allowed over-16s to get an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, age-depending, along with a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The success of the country’s vaccine programme has not gone un-noticed by other nations, with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar stating  that Ireland will be looking to Israel to assess the viability of using “vaccine certificates” at pubs, bars and other amenities.

Speaking to Morning Ireland over the weekend, the Tanaiste said “I wouldn’t use the word passport because people automatically associate the word passport with foreign travel.

“But we are going to give everyone a vaccine certificate. It will be a standard European form.”

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The initiative was even praised by the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland, who said that larger pubs would no doubt be willing to get involved in the vaccination process if they were approached by the HSE, in a statement to the Irish Examiner.

The Tanaiste did state, however, that he will have to wait until June 2021 to see the impact that Israel’s vaccine programme will have on COVID-19 numbers.

“Bear in mind, even if you’ve had the vaccine, you can still get Covid, you can still carry it in your nose, you can still infect other people,” he said.

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In the short term for Ireland, the Tanaiste said that the 5km non-essential travel limit could be extended, construction could be allowed to restart and “more outdoor activities” could return, by April 5, depending on how well the virus can be suppressed.

“Because outdoor activities are always safer than indoor,” he explained.

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