Ireland’s Hospitality Sector likely to Remain Closed until Mid-Summer
Ireland’s hospitality sector is at risk of financial ruin, according to Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland. Mr. Cummins was reacting to comments made by the country’s Prime Minister, Taoiseach Michael Martin, earlier today, indicating timelines for the reopening of the country’s hospitality sector.
Speaking on national radio station, RTÉ’s Raidió na Gaeltachta, Mr. Martin said it is unlikely that the country’s pubs and hospitality sector will reopen before the middle of the summer, due to concerns in relation to new variants of the Covid-19 virus.
Responding to the Taoiseach’s comments, Mr. Cummins said that restaurants and hospitality businesses will now be ‘closer to financial ruin and meltdown.’ He called on Government to step in and provide additional support in a bid to save the sector.
‘The Government now needs to increase the level of business supports for all hospitality businesses in order for the survival of the sector and remain ready to reemploy hundreds of thousands of tourism and hospitality workers currently on the PUP payment,’ Mr. Cummins said in a statement.
The PUP payment is the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, a social welfare payment for those who have lost all employment due to COVID-19.
The plea was made to Government following mixed messages this week in relation to its response to the Covid crisis. The country reopened on December 6th last, following six weeks of lockdown but returned to the highest level of lockdown on December 27th as cases surpassed the highs experienced in the early months of the crisis.
The country has remained at the highest level of lockdown since then, with schools, construction and non-essential retail closed and people confined to not travelling beyond 5 kms from their homes. Government this week first indicated a further 9 weeks of the highest levels of restriction, later followed by the Taoiseach indicating that, ‘nothing was set in stone.’
Three cases of the Brazilian P1 variant of the virus have been confirmed in Ireland up to Friday, with the Department of Health indicating that all three cases were associated with travel from Brazil.
Figures from Ireland’s Health Service Executive indicate that to date, 310, 900 doses of the vaccine have been administered. This figure encompasses 197,609 first doses and 113,291 second doses. These figures represent the vaccination of approximately 5.68 people per 100.
Across the EU, Malta is currently leading the field for vaccine administration with 13.06 people per every 100 vaccinated, while Bulgaria has the lowest figures, with just 1.3 vaccinations per 100 people.