Covid certificates required in bars, gyms and care homes
Health passes mandatory from Friday after measure delayed following technical issues
Showing a Covid-19 certificate is mandatory from this Friday to enter bars, restaurants, gyms, sports centers, and elderly care homes in Catalonia.
The requirement, which was already in place in nightclubs and indoor venues with dance floors, was suspended last Friday, only a few hours after coming into force. The system crashed after hundreds of thousands of people entered the La Meva Salut website en masse to download certificates.
To avoid new system crashes, Catalan health authorities activated a second platform to download the passes. Residents will have to enter VacunaCovid, the website to book vaccine appointments, and select the option "Download EU Covid passport." This, however, will only work for people with CatSalut cards.
According to figures shared by officials on December 3, in 24 hours a total of 102,179 vaccines were administered.
Last week, over 21,000 people received their first dose, a 64% increase in vaccinations in a week compared to the previous week. As for second doses, the jabs administration went up from 20,500 to 37,000 in a single week, around 80% more.
Business owners have their reservations
Although the requirement seems to be working far more smoothly than a week earlier, some business owners still have their reservations about it.
The owner of Papaya café in Barcelona told Catalan News that overall things had been fine but that it had been tricky to keep track of each and every customer, especially during the morning rush.
"We have a lot of people who come in, have a coffee, and stay for five minutes before a new person comes in," she said. "It's a lot of work."
Another worker at a nearby café, Hamami, said she had not had any trouble with certificates. Instead, she complained of people coming up to the bar and ordering without their face masks on.
The manager of Smartfit gym, also in Eixample, seemed frustrated at having to keep track of who had a health pass and who still had not shown theirs.
Download the certificate once
Health minister Josep Maria Argimon advised people to download the certificate and save it to their mobile phone, thereby avoiding going on the La Meva Salut website every time they need it. He also called on people to avoid going to primary care centers solely to ask for the pass.
However, since Wednesday, people who cannot access any digital platform to download the certificates, can go to any mass vaccination point and request a printed copy of the Covid-19 pass.
The health minister explained that once the Catalan high court confirmed the government's decision to make the use certificates obligatory on November 25, traffic on the health service's website where the passes can be downloaded from spiked and, as a result, the servers overloaded.
On last Friday alone, 346,000 people downloaded their pass, with 460,000 on Saturday. Overall, there were 1.4 million downloads between Monday and Saturday.