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Businesses told to check 'essential workers' list again as some may have closed in error

Minister Heather Humphreys said some businesses may have closed when there was no need to.

BUSINESS MINISTER HEATHER HUMPHREYS has today urged businesses to check the essential workers list published in March as they may not have had to close. 

Published at the end of March, the list contains specific examples of workers within a number industries that were allowed to continue operating throughout the restrictions.

Speaking at Government Buildings today, the minister said a number of businesses closed before the restrictions came into place, while others may have closed when they didn’t have to. 

“We have the list of essential services that was published in March. And I would encourage them [businesses] to look at that because you might find that there are some businesses that actually closed who may actually be on that list of essential services.

“So I would say for them to have another look at that,” she said. 

She also told businesses to check the phased roadmap for lifting restrictions to see what phase they might fall into. Humphreys said some businesses, including pubs, could open sooner than expected

The minister urged businesses to get in touch if they believe they can operate their business sooner than the plan sets out, while adhering to public health restrictions. 

What businesses open is ultimately the responsibility of the business owners, she said.

She said it is up to them to “make their own decisions. And this is the approach that we’ve taken so far. And I have to say it has been successful. We trusted businesses to be responsible, the vast majority of them have been responsible, and I continue to trust them to be responsible”.

The minister said she will soon be publishing at a national protocol on returning to work guidelines, which has been compiled with the help of the HSE, employers and the unions.

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