Retailers and hoteliers are demanding a significant loosening of Covid restrictions as the Government considers dropping level-5 lockdown measures next week.
The current restrictions are set to remain in place until December 1.
However, industry group Retail Excellence wants non-essential shops to be allowed open earlier than that and by next Monday — November 30 — at the latest, saying “every day counts for retailers”.
“This is the most critical week of the year for retailers and we simply cannot afford to get the big decisions wrong,” said Retail Excellence managing director Duncan Graham.
The group also wants retailers to be granted extended trading hours during December and for a significant easing of national restrictions to enable shoppers cross county lines.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has echoed the call for a reopening of cross-county travel. It has warned that hotels and guesthouses across the country are facing lost revenues of up to €270m over the Christmas period due to the current restrictions.
IHF chief executive Tim Fenn said if people are still not allowed to travel outside their home county it would have a “devastating” impact on hotels around the country.
“The Government must take a more balanced approach to allowing people travel outside their county to visit family. Hotels can be an important part of the solution in facilitating this by providing very safe, highly controlled, spacious environments for people to stay independent of the home setting. We have a proven safety record and urge the Government to recognise the role we can play in ensuring a safer Christmas,” Mr Fenn said.
“These five weeks of trading will be absolutely vital to hotels in terms of sustaining them during the first few months of next year, when business levels will be dramatically lower,” he said.