Clumsy start to first day of Covid pass in bars, restaurants, gyms, and care homes

La Meva Salut public health website and app down after court gives go-ahead to restriction

A sign outside a restaurant in Barcelona explains that patrons need a Covid pass for entry (by Cristina Tomàs White)
A sign outside a restaurant in Barcelona explains that patrons need a Covid pass for entry (by Cristina Tomàs White) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 26, 2021 12:16 PM

EU Digital Covid certificates were supposed to be needed in bars, restaurants, gyms, sports centers, and to visit elderly care home residents from Friday.

But the transition to implementing this measure hasn't been as smooth as Catalonia's health authorities would have hoped for, and just after 2 pm, they announced that it would be delayed until at least Monday

For one, after the High Court announced on Thursday that it would allow the cabinet to go ahead with this Covid-curbing restriction, La Meva Salut, the public health website and app from which people with CatSalut cards can download their medical records, including vaccination certificates, crashed.

Most of the bar, restaurant, and gym workers Catalan News spoke with on Friday morning complained that many of their patrons had not been able to show them their passes because of this, although La Meva Salut does seem to be working again at times. 

"Nobody gave us any information about this measure," a restaurant owner in the Arc de Triomf area of the Catalan capital said. He showed Catalan News a printout of his 'jutificant vacunal' but said he had not yet been able to obtain his health pass.

"This measure has been approved in a rushed manner – I'm sure that over the weekend, when restaurants have more business, many will turn a blind eye," he said before it was postponed. 

A nearby gym beside Estació del Nord said that Friday was "a very busy day." One of the receptionists explained that they had been asking people to show them their certificates and that they had been a leaving note in the file of those who were vaccinated. 

A Catalan News reporter did see, however, a few people entering without showing their passes and overheard some older women say they hadn't been able to get theirs. 

Another gym in Esplugues de Llobregat, near Barcelona, told the Catalan News Agency that "70 or 80 people" of its 3,700 members had called to cancel their gym memberships. 

"We will have to compensate them financially, but who will compensate us?" director Albert Ortiz lamented. According to Ortiz, having to check Covid passes will be both costly and lead to lines to enter the venue.

Adecaf, Catalonia's Physical Activity and Fitness Business Association, agrees and has estimated its members will have to spend an additional half a million euros over 10 days to implement the measure.