‘Coitus interruptus’ with the covid passport in the hospitality industry

  • Before the Government postponed the measure, many small operators turned a blind eye to regular customers

It was a few minutes after nine in the morning when Alicia, a waitress for three decades in a bar next to Travessera de GràciaShe was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to serve a decaffeinated cut and a croissant to Juana, the lady with the very white hair who every morning from Monday to Saturday eats breakfast on a table before her small daily purchase. The good woman took for granted that since they “know her forever” and know that “she is healthy” it would not be necessary. Denying the old woman breakfast broke the heart of the waitress, who opted for sneakily skip the regulations, not knowing that it would be the first of many other ‘infractions’ that same morning. Not for lack of predisposition, because Alicia asked a thousand times for the “happy” Covid passport. But among some who did not know how to download it, many others who could not even shoot it, and moments when there were so many glasses to pick up and so many coffees to make, in the end he chose to play Swedish, he later confessed. The postponement of the measure, just before meal time, finally returned the smile.

The hustle and bustle of the small bar in Gràcia was just a sample of the difficult take off of such a sudden measure that has caught tens of thousands of Catalans without time to get hold of the precious QR code. The Gremi de Restauració de Barcelona asked for citizen collaboration on Thursday, but not even the download time trial was enough. Thus, from the first hour, the most applied clients They went to get their coffee with a screenshot of their passport cell phone, while others despaired of helplessness because they could not get it down in My Health. “I swear I’m vaccinated, look,” showed a man in a cafeteria a step away from Via Augusta, showing the dates of the puncture, but not the code. “What do we have to do? The business is screwed up enough to kick these people out,” cursed Jose, the manager, when asked.

Bring the printed slip (the least) or the mobile phone in hand granted this Friday a certain status. A distinction. Like being on the guest list of a trendy nightclub. No clamoring for a chorizo ​​sandwich or a Coke. Every restaurateur or waiter would have kissed the one who made things easy for him and didn’t jam the orders.

More will than tools

At 11.00, in Gràn de Gràcia, caught red-handed, two employees justified: “We have been asking for it, but it is going very slow and with all this mess we cannot afford to stop, really”. A bar full of dirty cups and plates seemed to agree with them. At 1:00 p.m., in Marià Cubí, another confessed that she did not intend to ask for it, because “people are already quite self-conscious”. In a Bracafé next to the Llibertat market they resigned themselves – “as we have little work …” – to fight against the technological Goliath.

But let no one believe that the hospitality industry was inhibiting itself from the new responsibility. Many already announced the demand on the sideboard. There was impotence and many curses with the name of ‘consellers’, but also an immense effort gestated since dawn. “Look at the chat of my company,” said a manager of a well-known restaurant group in the city. Instructions from dawn on how to proceed and who not to let pass. Too tutorials with video included. And nerves because many non-EU customers were not going to pass the filter at lunchtime. “If they do not validate their vaccination we have to say no, and they are the ones who spend the most and leave the most tips,” he lamented.

The great restaurants, with reception and accompanying staff, they were more prepared for the screening, although they did not have to act. They have more resources and personnel accustomed to managing reservation programs and new technologies. Another thing is the small family establishments or with few digital resources. Even if a mobile is enough, you have to know how to handle the Salut portal and, above all, help neophyte clients in times of heavy workload.

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“I don’t know if they will feed us, some of us don’t have it despite being vaccinated,” said a construction worker on the street, waiting to see what happened to the advance party trying to access a fragrant cuttlefish with garlic in a crowded bar. and sweating at the prospect of having to fast. The terraces already crowded with smokers, not vaccinated or not certified …, they were not an option.

There would always have been the possibility of going to 39 charcuterie, 380 ovens or 75 pastry shops with tasting in Barcelona (according to municipal sources), They can offer food and drinks, but are exempt from having to require a health passport. A “comparative grievance” that has made the restoration bosses shout in the sky, in a day already of nerves.


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