Small businesses raise Level 5 concerns with TDs

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Small Businesses Raise Level 5 Concerns With Tds Small Businesses Raise Level 5 Concerns With Tds
Small businesses have expressed concern about Level 5 restrictions.
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James Cox

The Irish SME Association (ISME) has written to all TDs in Ireland to express the organisation’s grave concern at the current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

The ISME claimed "there are more effective, evidence-based and successful ways to respond to Covid-19" than "an arbitrary national lockdown".

The organisation, which represents over 10,000 businesses across the country, is calling on TDs to use their position in Dáil Eireann to "ensure that that Government responds in a more effective, strategic and sympathetic manner to the pandemic".

Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said: “Because it was important to afford the public health effort time to respond to the pandemic, ISME has been very reluctant to engage in criticism. However, it is no longer a sustainable position for us to remain silent and we can no longer tolerate a situation where the State’s only response to Covid-19 is to repeatedly furlough tens of thousands of workers.”

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The ISME's letter outlined a number of concerns.

Non-essential retail

These included the closure of non-essential retail businesses, which the ISME said accounted for 0.3 per cent of Covid transmission, and their claim that the period following the initial Covid-19 lockdown was "wasted".

The ISME also called for the introduction of faster Covid-19 testing.

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Their letter stated: "Other countries have introduced significantly less costly testing methods with much faster results such as antigen testing, albeit with lower levels (still in excess of 90 per cent) of accuracy.

"Despite our National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD strongly advocating for the retention of PCR testing as our main testing methodology, they announced the inability of staff to test over two consecutive recent weekends. This is simply unacceptable in the midst of a national crisis, when people are having their livelihoods swept from under them."

Meanwhile, research published by Visa shows that one in five (21 per cent) Irish consumers surveyed plan to do most of their shopping online this Christmas due to Covid-19.

However, more than a quarter (28 per cent) of Irish small and medium enterprises surveyed are unprepared to take on the holiday season influx of sales, and only 12 per cent of small businesses are planning to digitise their business to meet demand.

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