Gym staff have taken a 'lot of abuse' both online and on-site since the new vaccine cert requirement was introduced, an industry group says.
Ireland Active - Leisure, Health and Fitness Association says they're aware of two incidents where gardaí had to be called after "somebody barged through and refused to leave" as a result of the new rule.
As of Tuesday, gyms and leisure centres are among the businesses that must now check COVID certs for all customers and members using the facilities.
That means everyone hoping to use the facilities needs to be vaccinated or have proof of recent recovery from the virus.
The Irish Times today reported that gyms were now seeing "widespread cancellation" of membership from unvaccinated customers.
On The Hard Shoulder, Karl Dunne - Chief Executive of Ireland Active - said gym owners and staff have had to put up with some hostility since they started asking for COVID cert.
He said: “They took a lot of abuse online, and then within the facilities as well. Some people were coming in without certs and were denied access.
“Our members’ staff are only following Government guidelines, and it’s to keep them and the members of their facilities safe.
“If they don’t comply, they’re in breach of legislation and could actually get fined or closed down.”
Karl said his group has heard of incidents in two facilities - one in Dublin and one in Kildare - where gardaí had to be called.
He said: "Somebody just barged through and refused to leave. They were removed from the premises."
However, he stressed that's just two incidents out of many gyms and leisure centres across the country.
He said: "Members who have COVID certs are quite happy this law has been brought in now. They feel a lot safer.
"90-odd per cent of people are vaccinated.
"There is a small cohort who are making a lot of noise, and they seem to be grabbing the headlines at the moment, unfortunately."
Karl said anyone concerned about a business not checking certs should report it to the gardaí or HSA, as gyms and other fitness centres do now need to be checking certs.
While the industry is happy to be back open and operating, Karl said all gyms are down revenue compared to where they would have been in 2019.
He said his group is glad to see the wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) extended until January, but they want to see it continue beyond that until business is back to pre-COVID levels.