Lockdown in all but name says hospitality sector as 50,000 Dublin jobs lost overnight

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UPDATED: 1.25pm

Over 50,000 restaurant staff in Dublin are set to lose their jobs this weekend after the new Level Three restrictions came into effect last night, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI).

It says members are worried that looming bank repayments could force business owners to close forever.

The RAI also believe the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) should be increased back to the level it was at in March.

Chief executive, Adrian Cummins is calling on the Government to extend the moratorium on bank repayments.

"The banks will start to look for their mortgage repayments. The moratorium finishes in September, after six months and we are looking for the Government to intervene immediately and extend it for another six months so that these businesses won't have the pressure of paying loans, or landlords looking for rent while we are closed."


Under the new restrictions in Dublin, all bars and restaurants must close unless the have outdoor seating areas or are serving takeaway food.

The restrictions have been imposed for the next three weeks.

Dónal O'Keeffe, CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association, says the hospitality sector is now facing a lockdown in all but name.

"Over 52,000 people were laid off over night, an incredible amount of people now face a hugely uncertain future and the wider hospitality sector was on its knees anyway.

"[The sector] was closed for three and a half months. We were just building a very slow recovery in a difficult trading environment and now we are facing another three weeks of closure," said Mr O'Keeffe.

In the wider tourism and hospitality industry, there are also fears of more job losses according to the Irish Hotels Federation.

It says the industry has become "the economic frontline" of the Covid-19 crisis, adding that 100,000 jobs have been lost in the sector since March and a further 100,000 are now at risk.

The Federation's president, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane says the industry has been disproportionately affected by restrictions.

"68 per cent of clusters came from private homes, but in the context of restaurants it was 0.0002 per cent and it's for that reason that we feel it's a real disproportionate impact.

"But at the end of the day, public health is number one. We all want to support the measures."

Following the announcement of further restrictions for Dublin businesses, Dublin City Council has announced increased supports for restaurants, cafes and pubs that serve food.

The new measures will allow businesses to utilise public footpaths, designated car parking spaces and other public areas controlled by the council to allow for outdoor dining.

In order to qualify, businesses must have public liability insurance in the amount of €6.4 million for the use of street furniture, take full responsibility for health and safety, maintain 2 meter social distancing guidelines and gas heaters will not be permitted.

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