Hotel industry warns of new measures to fight Covid

Concerns have been expressed about the impact that new measures to deal with the latest Covid-19 crisis will have on the hospitality industry.

Representatives of the sector, which has just fully reopened, warned the government on Tuesday that additional support would be needed in the coming weeks.

The government has said pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Ireland will close at midnight from Thursday.

People will also be invited to work from home, if they can, starting Friday.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said Tuesday: “It’s not like a previous foreclosure where the entire economy is shut down.

“It’s a curfew, not a closure.


Members of An Garda outside Copper Face Jack’s nightclub in Dublin (Garrett White / PA)

She said the hospitality industry would still need staff, despite the new measures.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) called on the government to immediately reintroduce Covid support for the nightlife sector.

Donall O’Keeffe, Managing Director of the LVA, said: “We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated, we would be able to resume trading.

“Well, we waited and it wasn’t enough.”

The Irish Music and Entertainment Association has also warned that the new closing time at midnight is already causing concerts to be canceled.

“We fully understand the need for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, to protect the public and our health system, but it is vital that livelihoods are also protected,” said spokesman Matt McGranaghan.

He said the pandemic unemployment payment had to be reintroduced.

“Workers in this industry are now in the worst place they have been since March 2020,” he added.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told RTE: “I am opposed to the whole approach taken by this government.

“I am opposed to hesitation, delays and mixed messages and confusion and what I want to see at this point is the public health rationale for these decisions.

“What we have had is a government that seems unable at this point to plan a way forward and take decisive action.

“Telling nightclubs that they have to close at midnight, while nightclubs open at midnight, is a bit ridiculous. “

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