Anger from hospitality sector at tightened Covid-19 restrictions

Anger from hospitality sector at tightened Covid-19 restrictions
A worker cleans the outdoor dining area of a restaurant in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Anger has been expressed by sections of the hospitality sector at a move by Government to tighten coronavirus restrictions in Dublin.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the capital would move to risk level three of the Government’s blueprint plan to deal with Covid-19.

Only pubs that serve food and restaurants with outdoor facilities may be permitted to open, while sporting events will also be prohibited.

Meanwhile, all pubs in the rest of the country will be allowed to open on Monday.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has accused government of “closing down swathes of businesses”.

“They are closing down swathes of businesses in Dublin, pushing thousands of people out of work and yet NPHET admits they don’t have any data to show where the infections are arising in Ireland,” LVA chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said.

“Let’s remember pubs that serve food and restaurants have been open for several months without a spike in infections, having reopened on 29th June. But still NPHET has imposed the most severe, draconian and punishing restrictions on the hospitality sector in all of Europe.

“The pubs of Dublin widely accepted and backed the approach being taken by NPHET and Government at the beginning of this crisis. The approach being taken is shattering that support among the pubs of Dublin.”

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation also expressed concerns.

“The tourism and hospitality industry has become the economic front line of the Covid crisis,” she said.

“Urgent Government intervention is now required in the form of additional sector specific supports for an industry that has been disproportionately impacted by the Covid restrictions.

“The measures announced tonight fall far short of what is required not only in Dublin but for the entire country.

“Prior to Covid, tourism supported 270,000 livelihoods, one in ten of all Irish jobs. Of these 100,000 jobs have been lost already and a further 100,000 are at immediate risk.”

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