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Business groups demand clarity as Martin says decision on 5 July reopening will be made 'early next week'

There’s been a focus this week on how the Delta variant could impact the reopening of indoor hospitality.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking to RTÉ's The Week In Politics
Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking to RTÉ's The Week In Politics
Image: Screengrab via RTÉ Player

Updated Jun 27th 2021, 2:47 PM

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said a decision will be made early next week regarding the reopening of indoor dining on 5 July.

There has been a focus this week on how the Delta variant could impact the reopening of indoor hospitality on 5 July. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will next week issue advice to government on the planned 5 July reopening measures, which includes indoor dining.

Government sources have said that it would be close to impossible to reject advice if public health experts recommend a delay to some or all of the planned 5 July measures such as the reopening of indoor dining. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, Martin said NPHET will be meeting earlier than planned next week and that government will now be making a decision whether the easing of further restrictions can happen on 5 July “early in the week”. 

Martin said an anticipated decision from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) on whether AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccine surpluses can be used for younger people will be an “important factor” in the government’s decision to reopen hospitality. 

“I understand just how difficult and devastating the year has been for hospitality in particular, we get that, we understand that,” the Taoiseach said. 

Martin said that “we know now from the economic perspective that the approach we’ve taken so far has been effective and successful”. 

“We brought back to schools, we brought back construction, personal services, retail, hotels and so on without dramatically causing any spikes and that return, that sort of steady return of the economy is sustainable,” he said. 

The Irish SME Association (ISME) this afternoon called for greater clarity from the Government. 

Its chief executive, Neil McDonnell, said: “Casting public doubt around reopening when so many of our hospitality businesses are flatlining, is serious and damaging. The expected reopening date is fast approaching, and business owners and their employees need clarity as to whether they can reopen their doors on the 5 July.

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“This doubt will cause thousands of workers to reassess their plans to come off the PUP payment and return to work.

“Despite the fact that Ireland’s vaccination program is advancing faster than Denmark’s, their economy has reopened at a faster rate due to the introduction of mass testing. The longer the Government waits before taking executive control of the reopening of our economy, the greater and more expensive will be the economic damage.”  

Addressing the planned resumption of non-essential international travel on 19 July, Martin said Ireland part of the European Framework and has given a commitment in relation to the planned date. 

“So I think we will continue to operate the European Digital Certificate from the 19th onwards,” he said. 

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