Ibec calls for two-metre distancing requirement to be relaxed

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy says "significant measures" will be needed, including reducing social distancing from two metres to one, and an end to the travel quarantine requirement.
Ibec calls for two-metre distancing requirement to be relaxed
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy. FIle image

Ireland’s largest business representative has called for a reduction in the two-metre social distancing requirement.

Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec), whose CEO Danny McCoy will appear before the Oireachtas Covid Committee tomorrow, says "significant measures will need to be taken to protect the livelihoods of both households and

businesses", including reducing social distancing from two metres to one, and an end to the travel quarantine requirement.

Mr McCoy's opening statement, seen by the Irish Examiner calls for "the immediate actions required from Government" and if the rules are going to be changed then businesses must know when.

"Uncertainty around the timing and application of rules will compound economic and social destruction," he said.

"It impacts not just on business workplace planning but as critically on the social infrastructure that supports our socio-economic activity.

Business does not believe the timing of quarantine impositions at this point in the public health curve flattening is either logical nor implementable given the reality of the shared island of Ireland.

"It is also an unnecessary impediment to recovery along with an uncoordinated approach to the valuable Common Travel Area arrangement with the U.K."

Ibec, who represent 36 trade associations covering a range of industry sectors including retail, financial, food, drink, telecommunications, medtech and others, join a chorus of industry groups as well as politicians both government and opposition who have called for the reduction of the social distancing rule. Many trade groups say the difference of one metre could be the difference between a viable business and a non-viable one, especially in the hospitality sector.

The group also call for the roll out a €15 billion reboot plan within the first 100 days of Government formation, and to stimulate investment with the National Development Plan (NDP) review, increasing its lifetime budget by €25 billion.

Likewise, ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association will tell the committee: "If the reopening road map proceeds as planned, with two-metre social distancing, the COVID unemployment payments will have to be extended beyond the end of June, as early re-employment will be curtailed and business activity will recover on a more gradual curve."

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