With the Government changing its plans for indoor dining last week, when indoor dining and entertainment returns it looks likely it will be limited to those who are vaccinated.
However, talks between the hospitality industry and the Government continue, with the idea of rapid antigen testing and vaccine certs seen as two possible ways to begin reopening indoor venues and expanding the number of people who can avail of them.
In Denmark, they have already launched a mobile app called Coronapas aiming to fix this problem and aid with reopening in general. What exactly is it, and could we use a similar app here in Ireland?
What does the Coronapas app do?
The app acts as a Covid passport which proves that someone has been vaccinated against, has previously been infected with, or has tested negative for Covid-19.
In terms of tests, the pass will be activated after a negative test provided that the test was taken within the past 72 hours for antigen tests and within the last 96 hours for PCR-test.
It is designed to make everyday life as easy as possible, it ensures quick and easy admission for people to go out to eat or to attend cultural venues.
The Danish government said that even if you have a valid corona passport, people will still need to protect themselves and others by following the Danish health authorities’ guidelines.
When was the app launched?
The app has been available for people to use since May 28th and has also been in operation for Denmark's recent Euro 2020 group stage games.
The launch coincided with the easing of restrictions in the country and also aims to facilitate travel across the EU.
The Danish government has since lifted rules on mask wearing, except on public transport. Their aim is to have all restrictions lifted by October.
Can you use the app if you are not vaccinated?
Unlike what has been proposed by the Irish government recently, those who are not vaccinated can still use the app.
If you have had Covid-19 previously or have recently got a negative test for the virus, you will still be eligible to use it.
And if you have previously been infected with Covid-19 you can use this as documentation to show the result from your positive PCR test. Postive rapid antigen tests however cannot be used as Coronapas-documentation.
A positive PCR test must have been taken within the past 14 to 180 days to qualify as valid documentation.
What type of places do you need it?
- The likes of museums, libraries, zoos, cinemas and amusement parks have reopened throughout the county and the app can be used there.
- Corona passports are also required in gyms for people over the age of 15.
- They are also required for indoor sports for people aged 18 and over. There is no requirement for children and young people under the age of 18 to show a corona passport when coming together for indoor organised sports.
- A corona passport must be shown when attending football matches in the Danish Superliga and a number of other league and division matches.
- Finally, you must show a corona passport when served inside restaurants, bars and cafés. It is not necessary when eating outdoors.
What age groups are required to have the app?
All children under 15 are exempt from the corona passport requirement in Denmark. Another reason that children under 15 cannot use the new corona passport app is that a NemID (National identity key) is required to use it.
How long will people need to use the app?
The Danish government agreed to determine by August what will happen to corona passports once everyone who wants to be fully vaccinated has been.
They also said they agreed on a ‘sunset clause’ for the required use of a corona passport for activities other than tourism and travel.
Could we use a similar app in Ireland?
The Government and the hospitality sector have spoken about a number of ways to make indoor dining more feasible, with rapid antigen testing being the most talked about solution.
The main draw of antigen tests is their speed, with some tests offering results in as little as 15 minutes.
However, as the tests do not need to be administered by a trained sampler, or be processed in a lab, this raises questions regarding the implications of improper sampling technique and the potential to falsify results.
In terms of the possibility of using an app, beyond the Covid tracking app there has not been much discussion about using an app similar to Denmark's Coronapas.
The Government's current strategy is to limit indoor dining (when it is allowed) to only those who have been vaccinated. Using the same type of app could open up the possibility of unvaccinated people being able to enjoy indoor dining as well provided they can show either a negative test result or a positive PCR test.