"Either I serve the customers or I man the door"

Bars and restaurants have problems asking for covid passes from customers on the first day of new restriction

3 min
First day passport Covid

BarcelonaIn Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia there is a bar run by a very angry man who looks like something out of a Coen brothers movie: "We haven't asked to see a covid certificate nor will we", he exclaims, masked in blue and red-faced, when he hears that this Friday is the first day that the covid pass is a requirement to access bars, restaurants, gyms and nursing homes. Next door, the owner of a family cafeteria is less irritated, but does not hide a certain helplessness: "I'm alone in the bar and either I serve customers or man the door, but I can't do all at once," he says. "Anyway," he adds, "I know the customers here, in general. And if I don't know them, I serve them first and then ask them": sometimes the order you do things in does make a difference.

The argument of the known clientele to justify a supposed immunity when it comes to presenting the covid pass becomes a sort of repetitive gag in a couple of other establishments. In the direction of Carrer Gran de Gràcia, in another bar they confess that today they don't ask to see the certificate because people haven't yet found out that the measure is already in force, but again they appeal to familiarity to play down the infraction: "The people here are the same as always, people who come in every day, we know them and we know they're vaccinated". I take a look at the ten people eating at the tables inside and I wonder if something is wrong with my personal ties, because I don't even know if all my friends and family are vaccinated, and this man, on the other hand, would vouch for his clients.

Posters and permissiveness

Further downtown, in a franchise serving focaccias, coffee and cake, the manager is hanging a makeshift sheet of paper on one of the transparent screens in the cashier's area: "We haven't had time to make a proper poster yet, well laminated, but this way, at least, people can prepare their certificate while they queue". Some people, instead of showing the QR code, show a photo of the QR code printed on paper, which makes it harder to read. One girl can't find the certificate on her mobile phone downloads and the waitress, who seems overwhelmed by our presence, looks at the photographer and me and says "she's a regular customer anyway". In the end the girl orders a coffee to go.

In the bar next door the waiters are precisely talking about the impossibility to ask for the certificate because the Health Department's application, La Meva Salud, has collapsed under the avalanche of visits. When asked if they plan to ask to see it today, they reply that they will have to wait until tomorrow and that today will be a day of transition. In another franchise with an Italian name, the person in charge says that he has encountered many people who have either downloaded a certificate that is not the right one or cannot access the app due to the collapse.

First day of the covid pass.

In Diagonal, in a well-known fast food chain, the employee asks to see covid passes but have not put up a sign: "These days we have to focus on promoting the happy days", she says. So far, it is one of the most original justifications of the day. Nearby, in a franchise serving teas, coffees and sweets, they haven't put a sign up but they do ask to see the certificate; however, they only stare at it, as if in bad faith, but in any case without scanning the QR code.

The requirement to show a covid certificate to access the gym could be the definitive setback for the willpower of the laziest. However, in the gym on Carrer Gran de Gràcia they explain that users have their QR code at the ready: "So far there have been no incidents," says the receptionist, "maybe when someone cannot enter because of that we will have a situation". In a sports centre specializing in fitboxing we witness again the moment when the person in charge puts up the sign: they also ask to see covid passes as of today. Meanwhile, outside seating begins to fill up and the general perception is that today, no matter what we do, a certain permissiveness seems almost inevitable.