Pictures of a sign outside a Costa Coffee store, telling customers that if they want to dine in they need to be able to show proof of immunity and photo ID, have gone viral on social media.
What might not be clear on an initial glance is that the pictures were taken at a Costa Coffee branch in Ireland. Clues that is the case include the fact that the sign says proof of immunity can take the form of an “EU Digital Covid Certificate” (DCC) or an “HSE vaccination card”.
The DCC is proof that you have been vaccinated against Covid, have received a negative result or recovered from the disease in the last six months. As the name suggests, it is available for EU citizens and residents, which is a clue the picture was not taken in the UK.
The mention of the Health Service Executive (HSE) “vaccination card” is also a clue that the photo wasn’t taken in the United Kingdom as HSE is the name of the healthcare system in the Republic of Ireland.
Indoor hospitality venues in Ireland have only reopened to those who are fully vaccinated or those who have recovered from Covid in the last six months, plus children in their care. Photo ID may also be required to prove that the proof of immunity is valid.
The Irish government’s website says: “Businesses may refuse access where people cannot offer proof of vaccination or recovery or cannot demonstrate that their certificate relates to them. If businesses do not operate on this basis, they may be liable for fines or closure.”
In response to leader of the Reclaim party and former London mayoral candidate Laurence Fox saying he would boycott Costa, the company tweeted: “Sorry Laurence, We have to abide by the policy set out by http://Gov.ie so will be asking for proof of vaccination or immunity”.
A Costa Coffee spokesperson told Full Fact: “In line with Irish Government guidelines, our stores in the Republic of Ireland must now request proof of vaccination or immunity before allowing customers in a Costa Coffee store to either eat-in or takeaway. Customers may also be required to provide photo ID to prove that the proof of vaccination or immunity is theirs.
“This requirement does not apply to any Costa Coffee stores in the United Kingdom.”