He did not miss the entry of Covid Safe Ticket into the Flemish restaurant industry. Since Monday, serving this has become mandatory when visiting a cafe or restaurant. A survey in Hasselt showed that this caused some problems, with the exception of a few teething problems.
“We had absolutely no problems with our work,” says Annie Shahbazian, manager of De Goei Goesting. “Everyone automatically presents their smartphone upon entering. This is then checked using the staff’s mobile phone. All of them have a control app installed. Those without a Covid Safe ticket are seated themselves on the balcony. They knew it in advance.” In short, understanding a Covid Safe Ticket (CST) entry, which is evidence that you have been vaccinated, tested or recently recovered from Covid-19, is great in the five cafes or restaurants we visit.
However, there are also unpleasant side effects. At the brasserie’t Borrelhuis, they had to deny a resident of a nearby comfort home and her daughter access to work. “It’s a pity that they were regular customers,” says waitress Sabine Ackermanns. They come every week to have coffee with us. Worst of all, the nursing home resident is fully vaccinated. But she doesn’t have a smartphone and the rest at home weren’t there in time to arrange everything and print the Covid Safe Ticket.”
Installing the app is also not straightforward for another client. Siegbins joke printed out the CST, and her husband put it on the smartphone. “I tried several times, but I couldn’t get the app to work. I hope to succeed next time,” laughs Sijbens.
At most catering establishments, you will be screened immediately upon entering. But at Van Gogh at Kolonel Dusartplein they do things differently. “I let the people who come with the mouth mask sit at the table first,” says waiter Jo Cox. “Then I order their CST and take their order. That way they can take off the mouth mask. It seems to us that this is the best way to work. But today it’s not crowded at all, we’ll see how it develops over the weekend. I’m afraid someone might have to come to the entrance , just to check out the CSTs. After all, we’re going to get a lot of students there. However, the extra staff in the catering industry isn’t as obvious.”
There are already consultations with the city of Hasselt to propose a common approach. During the gin festivities, there were four checkpoints in the center, where everyone was checked. Those who were in the order mode received a colored bar with which they could enter each store without checking it again. “That would be a good technique,” Cox says.
Nineteen-year-old Jason Isenborghs is enjoying a summer vacation with his girlfriend. It offers its own CST without any problem. “But I saw that when they scan a QR code, they can read not only my vaccination status, but also my name. I didn’t know that, and to be honest, I find it less fun.” Isenborghs are vaccinated, but many of his college mates are not. “Why is that? Nothing actually. They don’t completely trust him.”
In the cafes and restaurants themselves, they are especially happy to remain open. This may require additional effort. “It’s better than we ever close it again,” says Jan Jans, manager of Koestal Café. “I have noticed in recent weeks that fewer elderly people are daring to come to the store because they are afraid that the young will not be vaccinated. Perhaps this will help mitigate somewhat.”
Others find scanning tickets annoying. “It takes time,” L’Aperi Vino director Evita Jarosova laments. “Above all, it seems we have to play the role of the police.”
But the biggest problem turns out to be the mouth masks that waiters have to wear. After all, an employer is not allowed to ask about the vaccination status of his employees. “I find this a strange rule in itself,” says bartender Jo Cox. “Hopefully soon we can voluntarily submit our Covid Safe ticket so we don’t have to wear a mouth mask. This is especially difficult on weekends, when there are more than a hundred people inside. It’s also a strange situation. Let’s say I went to a store sandwiches next door to buy a sandwich during my lunch break and come to eat it in our store I wouldn’t have to wear a mouth mask when I showed my CST. But after half an hour I suddenly had to put my mouth mask back on to work. Weird, right? Horeca Vlaanderen would work on A solution to make this possible, as I understand. Hopefully, that will come true.”
Whether there are no customers who categorically refuse to go to a cafe or restaurant? “Some said they would never come back,” Jans concludes. “But we will see. As far as I am concerned, everyone should just show solidarity. This way we can put the entire Corona crisis behind us as quickly as possible. If the Covid Safe Ticket helps with that, so much the better.”
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