500 hospitality businesses in plea to Taoiseach to be allowed reopen

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Alan Helay

Ireland's hospitality industry have told An Taoiseach Micheál Martin that their industry has been hit disproportionality by Covid-19 restrictions without sufficient evidence to back such moves.

In an open letter signed by 486 trade associations and businesses including bars, restaurants and hotels, the industry called on the Government to give them an opportunity to reopen in December in a planned and sustained manner.

"Businesses in the hospitality and experience sector are regulated environments and have proven to be responsible players throughout the crisis," the letter states.

"These businesses, if allowed to reopen, will play their part in maintaining strict Covid-19 measures, as we saw when they were given the opportunity to open earlier this year."

The Government is expected to announce on Thursday what restrictions will remain in place from December 1 with question marks remaining over how pubs and restaurants will be able to operate.

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The letter is also signed by industry bodies including the Vintners' Federation of Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland and warns that if regulated hospitality venues remain closed people will be driven to unregulated environments and households, where Covid-19 measures may be ignored.

"There is no good reason for Ireland to continue to be treated as an outlier in the EU, where, for the most part, the hospitality sector has and is treated fairly and in accordance with other parts of the economy when decisions are made about opening or closing these spaces."

The letter says the hospitality and experience sector contributes €4.5 billion in wages, salaries and employment taxes every year.

"More than 330,000 people are either employed directly or supported directly by demand from the sector. In the longer-term, the sector, which is vital to the Irish economy, can play a crucial role in the economic recovery which will follow this pandemic, as it did during the recovery of the last economic crisis, when it accounted for one in every seven jobs created," the letter adds.

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