The chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), Adrian Cummins, has called for a decision on Monday at the latest about any possible delay to the easing of restrictions for indoor dining.
Mr Cummins told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the RAI has requested a meeting with the Government to discuss speculation about a pause or delay in the reopening of the sector.
This could be the summer that is lost for our industry.
The possibility of reopening was “moving away towards the horizon,” he added.
The sector needed an early decision as it could cost a restaurant €20,000 to restock, which was a huge financial outlay, he said. A lead-in time was necessary when it came to ordering perishables, he further explained.
This was a critical time for the industry and the sector needed to know what percentage of the population needed to be fully vaccinated before hospitality could be safely fully reopened.
“If we’re not there yet, then we need to know this information as soon as possible.”
Acting Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has said that the Government must await the data before they can make a decision on the date for the reopening of the indoor hospitality sector.
It would not be helpful to speculate, she told Morning Ireland. “We need the data before we make a decision.”
The Government was awaiting recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), she said.
Ms Humphreys said that no one wanted a situation where the sector reopened only to have to close again. A delay in the reopening of the sector would mean that more people would be vaccinated, so the Government needed to look at ways to speed up the vaccination programme so that people would have more protection.
The Taoiseach has said he “cannot speculate” right now about whether Covid-19 restrictions will be eased as planned next month.
Micheál Martin said the Government had managed to reopen the economy in a “cautious but a progressive way” and that many people do not want that progress jeopardised.
The Fianna Fáil leader made the comments in a television interview with Virgin Media One marking his first year in office as Taoiseach.
Mr Martin described the month of January when Covid-19 cases surged as the “worst part” of his 12 months in office, as he outlined the caution that will shape the Government’s decision-making process next week.
The Cabinet is to decide next Thursday whether it will give the green light for bars and restaurants to resume indoor hospitality on July 5th.