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Dublin: 25°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

Lobby group seeks government help to save 90% of restaurants from permanent closure

The RAI has put forward a plan to help the sector recover and retain 120,000 jobs.

Image: Shutterstock/Prostock-studio

URGENT ACTION IS needed to prevent the permanent closure of 90% of restaurants in the coming months, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said. 

The RAI, the lobby group for the restaurant and hospitality sector, has put forward a nine-point recovery plan to help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said 120,000 jobs are at risk as 90% of restaurants remain closed in Ireland at the moment. The group said that without “urgent action” from the government, these jobs are at risk of permanent loss. 

“Our plan which is the only viable solution for restaurants is on the desks of ministers and departments. We are seeking urgent action to save and recover our industry as nine out of 10 Restaurants face permanent closure in the months ahead without urgent action,” the CEO of the RAI, Adrian Cummins, said. 

The nine points focus on VAT rates, rent, insurance and wage supports among other issues.

It asks for a 0% VAT rate for the sector during this emergency period and for 12 months after. This would then revert to a 9% rate for five years. 

It also suggested that the government could supplement rent by 60% for commercial lease holders, the landlord could reduce the rate by 20% and the tenant pays the following 20% for 12 months of the crisis. 

For workers in the sector, it asked for continued wage supports until a vaccine is found.  

Other supports include writing off rates for restaurants and hotels during the crisis period and banning utility providers from cutting off service while businesses stay closed. 

The RAI is a member of Hospitality Europe, an association of restaurants and hotels in the EU. This group is seeking a unified European level approach to the recovery of the sector.

Separately, an independent restaurant group Save Our Restaurant Coalition produced its plan to help restaurants recover.

The plan focuses on government support through grants covering fixed costs, continuing employment supports and directing banks to deal with debt sensitively. 

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