Implementation on mandatory vaccination cards in doldrums | The Express Tribune

Rawalpindi’s residents and restaurant owners believe inoculation certificates are just a hindrance


After the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, having a vaccination card became mandatory to be allowed access to eateries and shopping malls. Unfortunately, that rule is meeting its demise rapidly.

Throngs of people can be witnessed in the busy food districts of Rawalpindi either during peak lunch hours or dinner time, a majority without masks with no one to inquire about their vaccination status. The same holds true for shopping outlets as well, indicating that COVID is a thing of the past.

Rustam Ijaz, a server at a busy barbeque restaurant in Rawalpindi, while talking to The Express Tribune, said, “management has strictly forbidden us to ask any customer regarding masks or their vaccination status.” Ijaz is of the view that he does not belong to law enforcement so it makes little sense for him to ask about such things. “My job is to provide a good service and I excel at that,” he informed, indicating that there were customers he needed to tend to.

Similarly, Najaf Al-Hasnain, the manager of an eatery frequented by those looking for a quick bite, said that he was assuming his customers were sensible enough to get inoculated. “If I sit here and start asking for everyone’s vaccine card, I will not be able to get any customers,” he said matter-of-factly. Shaan Zeb, who is Hasnain’s next door competitor, concurred with his views, adding, “most of my customers are women and I do not want to create a fuss by asking them if they got the shot?”

Read S Punjab accelerates vaccination drive

Zeb believes that doing so is just picking unnecessary quarrels, as he had recently seen a viral video of a customer berating a waiter who had asked about her vaccination status. “It will just ruin the reputation of my business if such an incident happened over here,” he said.

“If they do not serve me at one restaurant, I will just go to another. I do not have anything to lose,” opined Akhtar Qayyum, while feasting on a sandwich, on whether those without vaccination cards should be allowed in restaurants. Qayyum’s views were seconded by others like him, who regularly eat out, with many informing that they had not bothered to get vaccinated, so how would they have the card? “If I have to die, I will. I cannot get into this business of getting a vaccination,” claimed Nowruz Khan, while talking to The Express Tribune. “It is my personal business. If I got the vaccine, why should I show a card for it? If they do not want to serve me, I can just simply drive somewhere else,” Khan added, suggesting that the superspreader virus was gone for good.

An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, when asked why restaurants were not being sealed for such blatant violations, said that it was not a part of their job description to check for the Covid vaccination certificates at hotels and shopping malls or whether these businesses were enforcing such rules. However,

District Officer Civil Defence Talib Hussain, said that their teams regularly checked eateries and shopping outlets and fined those not asking for inoculation status cards. “We are doing our part in making sure that citizens get vaccinated, but they should also show some moral responsibility,” he told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2021.

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