A number of new COVID-19 pandemic-related hospitality sector restrictions have been announced.
As reported by rte.ie, the restrictions will come into effect on Tuesday December 7 and last until at least January 9.
Rules For Hospitality Venues
Under the new rules, nightclubs will reportedly close and all bars and restaurants, including those in hotels, are required to revert to the situation in which they were before October 22, meaning table service only, one metre between tables, a maximum of six adults per table, no multiple table bookings, masks must be worn when not seated at a table and hospitality venues are still required to close at midnight.
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In a statement published on its website, the Restaurants Association of Ireland said, "Restaurants Association of Ireland had a positive and constructive engagement with Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minster Michael McGrath this morning Friday 3rd December regarding supporting the sector.
"Adrian Cummins CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, 'The Hospitality sectors concerns with regards to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) a comprehensive support package including a commercial rates waiver into 2022 plus access ro the COVID Recovery Support Scheme (CRSS) for all Hospitality businesses was discussed at length.'
"While no decision was made at the meeting, Government has confirmed that Hospitality businesses will be supported over the next number weeks due to recognition that business has substantially declined.
"The Hospitality sector has requested Government to establish a long term plan for the viability of the industry."
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) stated, "The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has described as extremely disappointing the low level of supports announced yesterday by the Government. They fall far short of what is urgently needed given the scale of the crisis now facing the sector. IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane states, 'It is devastating that the Government has failed to restore employment supports for hotels, despite the collapse in business levels witnessed throughout the country by our sector. We are calling on the Government to revisit this decision and urgently restore EWSS supports to November levels.
"'The Government's failure to support our sector is all the more disappointing given the assurance received that we would not face a cliff edge in terms of financial supports, but this is exactly what has happed tonight.
"'Normally December trade sustains the very challenging off-peak months at the start of the new year, but this has been wiped out this year. Currently hotels are reporting average occupancy rates of 35% for December and just 13% in January and February.
"'The Government can dress this up whatever way it likes - but the reality is that the supports announced come nowhere close to being enough given the extent to which hotel businesses levels have been decimated in recent weeks. This is a direct result of Government health measures. Now, in addition to widespread cancellations, we face additional restrictions and significantly reduced Government supports. It is nothing short of a hammer blow to our sector.
"'The EWSS was designed to support employment, and failure to reinstate it to November levels poses enormous challenges in our quest to restore employment levels. While we acknowledge the measures around local authority rates and CRSS, they will not sustain the off-peak season.
"'We are calling on the Government to reconsider its decision to reduce EWSS supports and to urgently restore them to November levels. This is about helping our industry to restore the 270,000 livelihoods across the country that it supported before the pandemic, equating to 1 in 10 of all Irish jobs, with 70% of these jobs located outside of Dublin. These jobs matter - not only to the people working within the industry but to the wider economy, especially the many parts of regional Ireland where tourism is the only show in town.'"
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