The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has welcomed the government's order for all restaurants and cafés to limit their supply to take away and deliveries only until Sunday April 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RAI has been campaigning for the government to issue an order for all restaurants and cafés to close for the past week, due to concerns for the safety, health and welfare of staff and the public throughout the country.
"The Best Decision Right Now"
RAI CEO Adrian Cummins stated, "I fully welcome the cabinet's decision as it is the best decision right now in the interest of the health of the nation, staff welfare and the safety of our customers.
"The Restaurants Association of Ireland are asking all members and restaurants and cafés throughout the country to please adhere to this decision. Public safety and stopping the spread of this pandemic must come first.
"Over the past week, it has become clear to our members, that the only viable way of supporting the efforts to save lives and protect the health service is to close our operations. The fact is maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy restaurants and cafés is increasingly challenging, and we must act in the interests of both our staff and our customers."
Cummins continued, "The Restaurants Association of Ireland welcomes the government's announcement to increase the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Support payment for people who have been laid off due to the virus from €203 to €350. We welcome that the payment will also apply to the self-employed affected by the virus.
"The Restaurants Association of Ireland have concerns in relation to the announcement of the 70% top-up of workers salary to a cap of €410 per week. Small businesses must not be penalised due to cash flow difficulties. Further clarification is needed regarding qualification, i.e., demonstration of reduction in income of at least 25% and cash flow difficulties."
Cummins added, "The Restaurants Associations of Ireland are continuing to campaign tirelessly behind the scenes for the introduction of business supports for restaurants and cafés during this tough time, including a reduction in the food VAT rate to 0%, deferring of loan repayments and the availability of social welfare supports for badly affected businesses and staff."
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