Health Department temporarily suspends covid pass requirement after website collapses

It is no longer mandatory to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and nursing homes until at least Monday, but it is kept in place for nightclubs

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A waiter validates a customer's Covid passport QR code

Showing a covid pass will no longer be compulsory to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and visit nursing homes. Only a few hours after it came into force, the Health Department has decided to temporarily suspend the new requirement due to technical issues that prevented users from downloading the document on the La Meva Salut website. In an urgent statement, the department has put the decision on hold until the trouble with the website is solved. Tens of thousands of citizens joined the virtual queue for the website, leading to long waiting times. The covid pass thus remains a requirement to access to nightclubs (it already was since October) and to travel within the EU. A new assessment of the situation will be made on Friday and a new date for the measure to come into force will be set.

The Department of Health has said it is working to respond to the high volume of requests that causes "slowness" in accessing the system and asks citizens to be patient. Only yesterday 174,300 covid certificates were issued, about 102,000 more than on the previous Thursday, when this document was only used to access the nightclubs or to move around the EU, which was its original purpose.

Bars and restaurants also had to adapt as best they could to new access rules this morning. Some still did not ask for the covid pass, as ARA has been able to verify, while others were checked without asking customers for their ID. The Gremi de Restauració has claimed that all member establishments complied with the rules this morning and had been promptly informed of everything despite the short period of time in which the measure had been authorised and implemented. The same sources stressed that how this new measure is implemented varies depending on the size of each establishment and the staff available.

Bars ande restaurants which did ask to see covid passes saw queues at the door, as waiters scanned QR codes. Those who did not want to queue had to settle for a table outdoors, where the restriction did not apply.

Gyms were also required to check covid passes. At the Estació Nord Municipal Sports Center in Barcelona customers showed it at reception and one of them explained at the exit that he was told that it was enough to do it only today because the information had been incorporated onto his record.