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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Let down

Hospitality workers disappointed by mid-summer reopening, industry warns

The Irish Hotels Federation say a closure until mid-summer would significantly impact the tourism industry.

AROUND 160,000 HOSPITALITY workers who will likely not return to their jobs before mid-summer due to ongoing restrictions are highly disappointed, hoteliers have said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin cited concern about uncertainties surrounding new variants of coronavirus and high numbers of infections as he gave a mid-summer date yesterday for potentially reopening the sector.

But Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, said the tourism community was shattered to learn of the tentative timeframe for reopening.

She warned: “The implications of yesterday’s announcement are huge in terms of confidence in the survival of Irish tourism. 

“Our people are our greatest asset and yesterday 160,000 tourism people who have temporarily lost their jobs learned that their employment is unlikely to be restored until mid-summer.

“This is about real people and real livelihoods.”

Speaking yesterday, the Taoiseach said he does not foresee reopening pubs before the middle of the summer.

He added public health authorities want him to stick with the current restrictions until April and then reflect on the months ahead.

The Government is expected to update its Living With Covid plan next week.

Fitzgerald Kane said her members are frustrated and anxious.

Prior to the pandemic, 270,000 people’s livelihoods were supported by tourism and 70% of these were outside of Dublin.

The industry representative said: “In some cases, whole communities are built around tourism.

“We are calling for an urgent review of the existing supports for the tourism and hospitality sector. 

“If the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are now required to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover.”

She also asked the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure they have appropriate support and engagement processes in place for businesses and team members until Covid-19 has been suppressed.

“Our community have been deeply affected over a prolonged period of time,” Fitzgerald Kane said.

“Failure to provide adequate supports now will have long-term implications that could take years to repair.”

Three cases of the potentially more infectious Brazilian mutation have been detected in Ireland.

They are directly associated with recent travel from the South American country, authorities have said.

They are being followed up by public health teams and enhanced measures have been put in place.

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