Restrictions at Christmas will be ‘hammer blow’, hospitality industry warns

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Hospitality organizations have warned that the resumption of COVID-19 restrictions for the Christmas period is a “hammer blow” to the sector.

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A variety of restrictions will remain in place from December 7 to January 9, including the closure of nightclubs and strict social distancing requirements for bars and restaurants.

The rules will see the hospitality sector back into a massive situation before 22 October, with a maximum of six adults per table and no table bookings.


It comes amid increased socializing over Christmas and concerns about the threat posed by the new Omicron version of the coronavirus.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD has announced targeted support for the hospitality sector based on the COVID Containment Assistance Scheme (CRSS) which operated in the earlier stages of the pandemic.

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This scheme will complement the assistance being provided to the sector under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

We are calling on the Government to reconsider this decision and immediately restore EWSS support at November level

Elena Fitzgerald Kane, Irish Hotels Federation

But Irish Hotels Federation president Elena Fitzgerald Kane said it was “too little” that is needed.

She said: “It is disastrous that the government has failed to restore employment support for hotels, despite the decline in business levels across the country by our region.

“We are calling on the government to reconsider this decision and immediately restore EWSS support at November level.

“All the more disappointing is the government’s failure to support our region, it has been assured that we will not face a rock in terms of financial support, but that is exactly what happened.”

She continued: “The government can prepare it any way – but the reality is, given the extent to which the hotel business has scaled down in recent weeks, the announced support is nowhere near enough.

“Now, in addition to widespread cancellations, we face additional sanctions and significantly reduced government support. This is nothing short of a blow to our sector.”

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, called for increased support and backdated to help businesses stay afloat.

He added: “The EWSS plan should return to the 100% level and be withdrawn on 1 December.”

Donal O’Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), said: “This is a real blow to nightclubs and late bars.

“Practical, effective and economical solutions now need to be developed.”

Mr Donohoe said: “The government recognizes the dire impact of COVID-19 for many sectors in our economy, not least in the hospitality sector.

“We have not been found since the beginning of this terrible disease, and to date, the government has provided more than 48 billion euros, supporting both our economy and society.

“A further deterioration in the public health situation will stifle our economic recovery, and as the government has consistently said during this pandemic, there will be no rock to support citizens and businesses. We will review these supports.”

Announcing the restrictions in a national address on Friday, Taoiseach Michael Martin said: “It’s not about going back to the days of lockdown.

“Across the country, many in the hospitality and entertainment industry will be deeply disappointed by this news.

“Many of them must be fearing for their livelihood.

“I want to assure them that, as we have done since the start of the pandemic, the government will stand by them and ensure that they have the financial support they need to weather this latest storm and as long as we can get through it. Stay on till you don’t come out. ,


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