Hundreds of unvaccinated gym customers in Ireland have canceled their memberships due to new COVID-19 restrictions that require gym users to present a vaccine or recovery certificate.

The new restrictions came into effect in Ireland on December 7 and require people to present a COVID pass (vaccine or recovery) for entry to gym and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities) and hotel bars and restaurants (that is, removing the exemption for residents).

Karl Dunne, the chief executive of the Leisure, Health and Fitness Association, told the Irish Times that gym staff across the country are dealing with customers who want to cancel or suspend their membership because they can no longer use the facilities. 

"[Staff] are finding members coming in and saying ‘I am not vaccinated, so I can’t use it, so I want to either cancel or suspend membership,'" Dunne said. 

He told the Irish Times that more than 100 customers in one gym had canceled their membership due to the new restrictions. He said that he raised the issue during a meeting with the Department of Sport on Thursday. 

He added that gym staff had been receiving "hassle" from a cohort of unvaccinated customers since the restrictions were introduced. 

"It’s quite common across all our members, who have come back to us that they are receiving hassle from a certain cohort."

Dunne separately told RTÉ Radio's Today with Claire Byrne that were two instances where the guards had to be called when members without COVID certificates tried to use the facilities.

"They're claiming that it's unfair that they're not allowed to use the facility and that they should be allowed to use," Dunne said, "but unfortunately, the government restrictions say that you need a Covid cert to use the gym."

In light of memberships being canceled, Dunne said he was happy to see supports being continued: "We're actually delighted to see that the EWSS [Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme] will continue at November rates into January. We do feel though that this needs to be extended well into 2022."

In addition to this week's restrictions surrounding COVID passes, the Irish government has also opted to shutter nightclubs until January 9 and reduce capacity in indoor entertainment, cultural, community, and sporting events to 50%.