Ibec Says Businesses Need To Remain Open Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
Lobby and business representative group Ibec has said that while easing back the phased return to the office is sensible, businesses need to remain open so that people can earn a living.
The news coincides with news that the government will discuss a proposal today (Tuesday November 16) to strongly advise people to work from home and attend a workplace only when it is necessary, and a recommendation that to extend the requirement for Digital COVID Certificates to gyms, hairdressers and barbers will also be considered.
Ibec Employer Relations Director Statements
As reported by rte.ie, Ibec employer relations director Maeve McElwee said that the high rates of COVID-19 infection is an issue that is larger than the workplace and that employers support the government in seeking to reduce the spread of infection.
McElwee reportedly said that the issue is about maintaining some level of balance between keeping society open and protecting public health, and that now that all business areas have reopened, they should remain open, and if they can operate remotely, they should do so.
McElwee reportedly added that the government must support sectors that cannot operate remotely, such as nightclubs, and reportedly said that access to some levels of offices will be needed for some workers.
Dublin Town Chief Executive Statements
Dublin Town chief executive Richard Guiney reportedly said that the country needs to move away from restrictions and closing down as a way to deal with COVID-19.
Guiney reportedly said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio programme that simply taking office workers out of the environment is not good for hospitality or retail, and reportedly added that the vibrancy that retail and hospitality provide feeds back into attracting the kind of workers that other businesses need.
Guiney reportedly said that the government should be examining the roll-out of a booster vaccine programme to the general population, and that business owners in the city centre need to see footfall return to at least 85% of 2019 levels and that this number was achieved last week, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Guiney reportedly said that this increase in footfall is reflective of the return of office workers to the workplace.
Further PUP Reductions
Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will reportedly see the amount that they receive reduced further from today (Tuesday November 16) as part of the ongoing process of gradually winding the payment down.
Those currently receiving €300 a week will reportedly see their payment decrease to €250, while those on the €250 rate will reportedly see it decrease to €203, which is the current maximum rate of jobseeker's benefit and allowance.
Those whose payment reaches the €203 rate are reportedly then transitioned over to the main jobseeker's payments.
There were reportedly approximately 78,000 people still in receipt of the PUP according to the most recent figures issued by the Department of Social Protection two weeks ago.
It is reportedly expected that when the next update is issued this week, the numbers will have fallen below 70,000, as more people return to work.
At its peak in May of last year, the PUP was reportedly being claimed by 605,000 people across a large range of sectors.
In total, more than 900,000 have reportedly received at least one payment at some point over the last 18 months.
The first cut to the PUP took place in September, with rates also reducing by €50 at that point.
The system closed to new entrants on July 8. It was introduced in March of 2020 as the pandemic struck in order to preserve incomes of those who suddenly lost their jobs when restrictions were introduced.
Some employers have reportedly blamed staff shortages in a range of sectors on the slow pace of the wind down of the PUP.
Approximately €9 billion has reportedly been spent on PUP payments to date.
Majority Of People In NI Would Welcome Mandatory COVID-19 Passports
In other island of Ireland COVID-19-related news, as reported by The Belfast Telegraph, a new poll has indicated that the majority of people in Northern Ireland would welcome the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 passports.
65% of those questioned by Northern Ireland polling and market research firm Lucid Talk reportedly said that they would have no issue if the passports were introduced for the hospitality sector to permit them to enter pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.
A new app that allows users to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status within Northern Ireland was reportedly launched by the Department of Health earlier this month to facilitate voluntary checks in hospitality and entertainment venues. Currently, people in Northern Ireland are not required to prove their vaccination status to enter indoor hospitality or entertainment venues.
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