Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Questions (184)

Joan Collins

Question:

184. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if a series of matters in relation to the non-checking of Covid-19 certificates in a premises (details supplied) will be investigated. [57730/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) were both identified as relevant bodies under the Health Act 1947 (Sections 31AB and 31AD) (Covid-19) (Operation of certain indoor premises) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No 385 of 2021). They are collaborating closely to ensure that they are fulfilling their roles in a consistent manner and to maximise their footprint across all relevant businesses.

These compliance checks are being undertaken across the hospitality sector without prior notice, in all counties and at different times of the day and night and at weekends.

The HSE has advised me that the licensed premises detailed in this PQ are under the supervision of the HSE; however, for operational reasons the HSE does not comment on individual cases.

Responsibility for compliance with this legislation rests with the indoor operator who must ensure that they are aware of their legal obligations and are fulfilling them at all times. Furthermore, responsibility for ensuring that only permitted persons access relevant indoor premises rests with the indoor operator who must satisfy themselves that any person seeking to enter a relevant indoor premises is a permitted person. This is provided for in Section 31AB(3)(a) of the Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2021 which requires indoor operators to take “reasonable steps (including by inspecting such documents, if any, as may be prescribed in regulations under subsection (4)) to ensure that a person other than a permitted person is not admitted to a relevant indoor premises”.

Under the Regulations, Compliance Officers do not have the statutory powers to ask to inspect or examine any individual customer’s proof of immunity or proof of identity. However, designated Compliance Officers undertake spot checks of businesses to ensure that the indoor operator has a system in place to check proof of immunity and proof of identity, where necessary, before persons are admitted to the relevant indoor premises.

Where businesses checked by the HSE are found to be requiring additional compliance measures Compliance Officers continue to follow up and engage with those businesses towards ensuring full compliance. Where non-compliance is found to be persistent or overt formal enforcement action is undertaken.