Businesses seek clarity over reimposing of restrictions

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has said it is devastated and "hugely disappointed" about expected Covid-19 restrictions being reimposed on the sector before the New Year.

Its president Mark McGowan said clarity is needed as supplies have been ordered by many restaurants.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr McGowan said it is "a slap in the face" to the sector, which he said is well-versed to tackle the disease and has put additional practices in place to ensure a controlled environment is in place by highly-controlled staff.

The future is in doubt for many in the sector, he said, and expressed concern about the long-term damage to the industry and the impact on the skillset of employees.

The Government is likely to look at bringing forward the tightening of restrictions to 28, 29 or 30 December.

Some restrictions have been relaxed from today and were originally to continue until 6 January.

Employers' group Ibec said the rising Covid-19 cases require "a proportionate and considered response" from Government, but said it needs to take a few days to engage with businesses before making any final decisions.

Ibec Chief Executive Danny McCoy said it is clear from what is happening across Europe that the outbreak is very serious and "we need to get it under control" to avoid further restrictions in 2021.

Speaking on the same programme, he said that "what we do now is to ensure the economy is functioning as well as possible for most of 2021".

He said there is a disproportionate impact on the hospitality sector and that people in the supply chain will have to factor in that restrictions are coming.

Mr McCoy said that for those who livelihoods are being really stretched, there is little compensation for the financial uncertainty and stress "but the hope is that the economy bounces back next year if we get this right and proportionate now" and helps business to survive.

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