They risk hate, but as they say, safety is the most important thing. There are already several places in Poznań that can only be entered by vaccinated people, convalescents or those who test negative for the coronavirus. Such a step was taken by, among others, restaurants, a club and a studio cinema. Soon they will also be joined by the Zamek Cultural Center.
According to the announcements of the Minister of Health, new epidemic restrictions apply in Poland from 1 December. “Restrictions alert package“was introduced in connection with fears of the omicron variant. And so the limits applicable in cultural institutions, churches, hotels and gastronomic establishments were tightened. There are several establishments and institutions in Poznań that have started to verify covid passports. We checked how they deal with it.
Only sightseeing is passport-free
The Zamek Culture Center in Poznań introduces new rules from 6 December. What? Only people with a covid passport, a document confirming the status of a recovering person or a current negative coronavirus test result will be able to take part in the events organized here. – We do it out of concern for the common good of our guests and employees. In a situation where over 400 people die every day in Poland, it is difficult to disregard this, ‘says Anna Hryniewiecka, director of the Zamek Culture Center.
The new rules are introduced for the safety of event participants and institution employees and will apply to events taking place in closed rooms of CK ZAMEK, in particular: film screenings, concerts, performances, meetings and workshops. If the viewer does not present the required documents, he / she will be entitled to a refund for the ticket.
These rules do not apply to visiting the castle. – These spaces are so large that it would be difficult to fill them with the audience in such a way that would generate a great threat – explains Hryniewiecka.
The management of the cultural center announced its idea on Wednesday (December 1), and the new rules will not come into force until December 6. The first reactions from visitors to the facility did not take long to come. – In the real space, we most often meet with understanding, and in the virtual with hate – admits the director.
“A dozen or so people bounced off our door”
The first events, during which covid certificates were verified, were followed by the Large LOKUM. On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant is only open to vaccinated or healed persons.
Arek Kluk, manager of the Duże LOKUM club: – We decided to introduce such rules on days when we have the most customers. We downloaded the government application and thanks to this, we can verify the certificates upon entry and compare the data with those from the ID card. Thanks to this, we are one hundred percent sure that we admit a client who meets our requirements.
According to the manager, the vast majority of the restaurant’s supporters accepted the decision to enter with a covid passport with understanding.
Arek Kluk: – Some even congratulated us on our courage. After the first weekend, I can say that this system works for us. A dozen people bounced off our door. One of them tried to enter someone else’s certificate. It failed – says the manager. And he adds: – Of course, when it got loud about us, we did not miss a wave of hate on the Internet. There have been many anti-vaccine comments on our social media pages, but we survived it. We stick rigidly to our principles.
“We all sit at the same table, you can’t keep distance here”
The owner of Min’s Table in Poznań also decided to take matters into his own hands.
Jakub Tepper, owner of Min’s Table in Poznań: – We have decided that from today (December 4 – editor’s note) we are introducing covid passport verification. You must show a vaccination certificate or a negative test result to enter the restaurant and eat on the spot.
As the restaurateur says, he decided to take such a step for safety reasons.
Jakub Tepper: – In our restaurant, we all sit at the same table and it is impossible to keep distance. My entire team is fully vaccinated. (…) We do not know if our restaurant is 100% safe, but we do everything to make it so – he explains.
So far, the staff of the restaurant have not experienced any negative reactions. – I think the idea is quite okay, but in many cases it is difficult to enforce and it may limit the freedoms of some people – one of the clients told TVN24. – And I was very happy because it makes me feel safer. I also have more confidence in the people who eat with me in this restaurant – says one of the clients.
Jakub Tepper: – It was shocking for us that the reactions were 99% positive. We do not know if this is our created bubble or if we are simply ready for it.
In the cinema, the room is half empty
Returning to the restrictions is “not such a completely new reality” observes Piotr Zakęs from the Rialto cinema.
Piotr Zakęs: – We are going back to what was already the case, with the difference that now we could theoretically admit vaccinated people, but it practically does not matter to us, because we have to stay within the 50 percent limit anyway.
This means that now only 50 percent of the available seats can be occupied in the cinema hall.
Piotr Zakęs: – We will definitely not play in checking certificates, because we do not have a legal basis or the possibility to do so. We will sell 50 percent of tickets. If it is successful, it will be an option to buy a ticket at the ticket office, but after voluntarily presenting a covid passport. It seems to us that this is the only reasonable solution in this situation.
“You can’t wait any longer”
Entrepreneurs are divided. Some of them claim that the government requires them to adapt to the new restrictions, and at the same time does not provide them with an appropriate legal basis that would enable them to realistically enforce their clients’ compliance with the rules.
Piotr Zakęs, Rialto Cinema in Poznań: – There is no legal basis. On what basis should we require something if this legal basis does not exist? And he adds: – I would gladly invite Minister Niedzielski or any of the deputies who voted to sit at the ticket office or at the entrance and let them talk to people while checking tickets. They will see how they react to the question about the certificate. I’d like to see their expressions.
Jakub Tepper, owner of the Min’s Table restaurant in Poznań: – We know that in theory we do not have the right to check covid passports. However, taking into account the indolence of our government and absolute capitulation, we found that the most important thing is to take care of yourself and safety in the restaurant.
Others are looking for this legal basis themselves.
Anna Hryniewiecka, director of the Zamek Culture Center: – We have legal bases. The obligation to limit the number of unvaccinated people is imposed on us by the ordinance of the Council of Ministers, but it does not directly indicate how to implement it. (…) We were looking for grounds in several acts that are binding on us, for example in the act on cultural activity, in the act on entrepreneurs and in the Constitution. And he admits: – It would certainly be easier and I think that many institutions are waiting for it (instructions for action – editor’s note). The situation was developing in such a way that we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer.
“First of all, you have to give entrepreneurs a tool to check the certificate”
The Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, admitted on Tuesday in “Rozmowa Piaseckiego” that despite the fact that vaccinated persons do not count against the limits applicable, for example, in restaurants or cinemas, “there is currently no legal basis for requesting such a certificate.” – But on the other hand, there is enough space in the regulations, which says that if, for example, we have a 50% cinema limit and this limit is reached, subsequent tickets should only be sold with a covid passport – he said.
Doctor Karolina Pyziak-Kowalska, vaccination coordinator at the Provincial Infectious Hospital in Warsaw, an infectious disease specialist said on Tuesday in “You get up and you know” on TVN24 that “first of all, entrepreneurs need to be given the tools to verify” the certificate. – When it turns out that someone is not vaccinated, what is to follow, or what steps can we take? We are to kick this person, on what legal basis are we to do this? – she asked.
She stressed that “these are the elements that should be legally sanctioned by the state.” – Dropping it on employers is not the most appropriate element of the solutions, as it does not give specific guidelines as to how it should be carried out – she added.
She said that “when a person comes to a restaurant and there is no formal obligation to present a covid passport, you can ask for such a document, but if it turns out that he is not vaccinated, we can try to remove it”. However, she noted that “in shopping malls, when people who are crowded are asked to keep a distance, to wear masks, customers who are in stores often react very aggressively”.
Main photo source: facts