The Board of Limerick Chamber said it supports a full workplace closure to help overcome the spread of COVID-19 at this critical stage.
The Chamber said that if such a closure is instituted, exceptions will need to be made for organisations that are critical to the medical, pharmaceutical and food supply chains. However, clarity, it said, must also be given with regards to supports for business and employees in this instance before this intervention is initiated.
This includes ease of access to social welfare payments for employees; social welfare allowance for the self-employed; a moratorium on commercial and personal loans (including mortgages); and a moratorium on VAT, PAYE, PRSI payments, local authority rates and water rates.
Limerick Chamber CEO, Dee Ryan said: “There is a growing consensus that to meet and defeat the COVID-19 challenge we have to raise the stakes and Limerick Chamber would support the Government were they to put a complete workplace closure in place."
“We believe that we are in a critical window that could potentially see the spread of the virus go to uncontainable levels and do not believe that it is worth running that risk."
Ms Ryan said the lessons are clear already from China where only after a comprehensive shut-down of public engagement that the virus' spread was brought under control.
"We urge the Government to move quickly to put measures in place so that a majority of workplace closure can be instituted when necessary.”
"This would be a difficult intervention for business, she said, but business would be willing to do what is necessary for the greater good. “This will have a huge short-term impact on business and necessary services must continue to be delivered but with proper controls. However, this short-term impact will have long term gain as we limit the spread and, ultimately, the loss of elderly and vulnerable people. Public health is number one but we will also get back to normal routine, or as close to it as is feasible, a lot quicker from a business perspective if we act swiftly.”