Hospitality industry raises concerns over new measures to tackle Covid

ireland
Hospitality Industry Raises Concerns Over New Measures To Tackle Covid Hospitality Industry Raises Concerns Over New Measures To Tackle Covid
The Government says pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Ireland will have a midnight closing time from Thursday. Photo: PA Images
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

Concerns have been raised about the impact the new measures to tackle the latest Covid-19 crisis will have on the hospitality industry.

Representatives of the sector, which has only recently fully reopened, warned the Government on Tuesday that extra support will be necessary in the coming weeks.

The Government says pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Ireland will have a midnight closing time from Thursday.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said on Tuesday: “This isn’t like a previous lockdown where the entirety of the economy is closed.

“This is a curfew, not closure.

Members of An Garda outside Copper Face Jack’s nightclub in Dublin (Garrett White/PA)

She said that the hospitality industry would still require staff, despite the new measures.

The Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland also warned that the new midnight closing time was already leading to the cancellation of gigs.

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“We fully understand the need for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, to protect the public and our health system, but it is vital that livelihoods are protected too,” said spokesman Matt McGranaghan.

He said that the pandemic unemployment payment needed to be reintroduced.

“Workers in this industry are now in the worst place they have been since March 2020,” he added.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) called on the Government to immediately reintroduce Covid support for the late-night sector.

Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said: “We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated we would be able to get back to trading.

“Well, we waited and that wasn’t enough.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told RTE: “I am opposed to the whole approach that this Government has taken.

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“I’m opposed to dithering and delaying and mixed messages and confusion and what I want to see at this stage is the public health rationale for these decisions.

“What we’ve had is a Government that seems incapable at this stage of planning a way forward and taking decisive action.

“To say to nightclubs that they have to close at 12am, when nightclubs open at 12am, is kind of farcical.”

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