"Nothing short of a disastrous December awaits our hotel sector if media reports and briefings by Government on the revised restrictions are correct."
That is the opening line in an open letter from Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, Tim Fenn, to Ministers today, urging them to use their influence to avoid "needless damage" to the economy by allowing people to travel outside their country from December 2.
Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity, he writes, one that could have a detrimental impact on public buy-in to Covid-19 restrictions and limit the choice of safer options where families can meet in the run-up to Christmas.
“Public health is the No 1 priority, and we understand the difficult challenges and choices facing Government in reopening society in a safe way," Mr Fenn said.
The latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows that of the 9,062 clusters reported in the country to date, just 11 were associated with hotels.
"Why restrict people’s ability to travel outside their county to stay in a hotel or dine in a hotel setting when they are proven to provide safe, controlled environments?"
Mr Fenn said, for many hotels, bookings within their own county would account for less than 10% of their December turnover.
"There is therefore scant difference between level three and level five restrictions in terms of how hotels can operate."
"Given the enormous loss of revenue already this year, this will have a devastating impact – not only on hotels but on their local economies, employees and communities,” he finished.