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Ibec Calls For Roadmap For Full Reopening Of Ireland's Experience Economy

Published on Aug 20 2021 8:03 AM in Features tagged: Featured Post / Ibec / Restaurants Association of Ireland / RAI / HSE / Health Service Executive / National Public Health Emergency Team / Nphet / National Immunisation Advisory Committee

Ibec Calls For Roadmap For Full Reopening Of Ireland's Experience Economy

Lobby and business representative group Ibec has called for a roadmap for the full reopening of Ireland's experience economy, saying that greater urgency is needed.

As reported by rte.ie, Ibec said that the experience economy encompasses hospitality, tourism, food, drink, travel, entertainment and retail as well as aspects of the arts, cultural, sporting and heritage sectors.

In a statement, Ibec reportedly called on the government to intensify efforts to publish and commit to a safe reopening plan for the experience economy.

Ibec Director Of Membership And Sectors Statements

Rte.ie quotes Ibec director of membership and sectors Sharon Higgins as saying, "Government must urgently engage with stakeholders in the experience economy to detail a clear roadmap towards the safe reopening of the industry that reflects the risk reduction that the vaccine programme is delivering.

"The experience economy is crucial in making Ireland a great place to live, work and invest."

"Its stakeholders have borne the brunt of the devasting economic impact of COVID and the continued failure to provide clarity as to when vast portions of the industry can reopen only serves to add further pressure to an already struggling sector."

Higgins reportedly added that many of the individuals who work in the sector have already missed out on opportunities with which the peak holiday season may have provided them, and, "In the absence of any roadmap, at the very least commitments must be granted to extend financial supports to the sector, aligned with an enhancement in investment in the ongoing management of COVID with regards to antigen testing."

Yesterday's News

Ibec's call for the full reopening of Ireland's entertainment economy follows news from yesterday (Thursday August 19) that no date has been set for the return of live concerts and other cultural events following a meeting between live music sector representatives and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, and that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher Hayes programme that the government will put in place a "clear roadmap" by the end of the month for the next phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions, and that Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins has said that the government's next reopening plan must outline if and when the restaurant industry can return to normal.

Comprehensive Roadmap Being Worked On

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin reportedly subsequently said that a comprehensive roadmap that covers all sectors is being worked on at present and will provide clarity on when sectors that remain closed can reopen and when restrictions on others can be lifted.

Martin reportedly said on RTÉ News: Six One that there will be a National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) meeting on Wednesday August 25, which will be followed by a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 on Friday August 27, and then a full Cabinet meeting will be held to finalise the roadmap that will "take us through to the end of the year, and maybe beyond".

Plan For Phased Reopening To Be Published By August 31

A government plan for the phased reopening of all remaining closed industries will reportedly be published on August 31, and will reportedly include the return of the live entertainment sector and cover the next stage of the pandemic from September through the winter.

It is reportedly unlikely that any more measures will be relaxed until at least the middle of September as the government prioritises the reopening of schools and colleges.

COVID-19 Briefing

The Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 met yesterday and was briefed by Health Service Executive (HSE) chief cxecutive Paul Reid, Chief Medical Officer Doctor Tony Holohan, head of the vaccine taskforce Professor Brian MacCraith and Professor Philip Nolan from the Nphet.

Infection Rates Have Not Peaked Yet

Nolan reportedly told those present at the meeting that COVID-19 infection rates have not peaked yet, but that they could in late September.

Impact Of Resumption Of Indoor Hospitality Services

Ministers reportedly also heard that the current increase in COVID-19 cases is due to the impact of the resumption of indoor hospitality services, along with other measures.

Establishing "Where We Are Now"

The taoiseach reportedly said, "There was never going to be a decision made" at yesterday's meeting, and reportedly added that that the government is working towards preparing a plan for next week, and that the meeting was about establishing "where we are now" in respect of Nphet's modelling.

"Many Twists And Turns"

Martin reportedly said, "The reopening of our society has gone well", but there have been "many twists and turns" during the pandemic, and, "We'll be moving into a new era in terms of managing COVID, building on the progress of the vaccination programme", but people need to "take on board" that the COVID-19 Delta variant wave has not reached its peak and that every case has a disproportionate effect on the rest of the health service.

Personal Responsibility And "Giving Clarity"

Martin reportedly stressed that personal responsibility will still play a role as restrictions are eased further, as COVID-19 will remain present in Ireland, and reportedly added, "Giving clarity to the sectors, such as the entertainment sector and the return to offices in city centre", will be a key part of the plan next week.

HSE Winter Plan And Vaccination Booster Shots

The HSE Winter Plan will reportedly be brought forward this year and vaccination booster shots will reportedly start with the immunosuppressed, and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee will reportedly give advice to the government on this matter in two weeks.

Other Issues Discussed

Other issues that were discussed at yesterday's meeting reportedly included the return to the workplace and how sectors can utilise antigen testing.

Meeting Attendees

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin reportedly did not attend the discussions despite having requested to do so, but it is reportedly understood that she is likely to be present at next week's gathering as it directly affects areas that come under her department.

The three party leaders reportedly attended yesterday's meeting along with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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