Hoteliers have expressed utter shock at reports that the Government is considering an early reintroduction of Covid restrictions for the hospitality sector shortly after Christmas. IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane says this would be extremely short-sighted in failing to take account of the essential role that hotels have to play as part of a controlled and safe response to Covid.
“We understand the public health challenges facing the Government at this time. But limiting the options available to people looking for a safe place to stay and dine is not the answer. Doing this will inevitably concentrate the number of gatherings in people’s homes over a short period which poses additional, avoidable risks. The Government must take a more targeted approach that recognises the realities of where Covid is actually being spread.
“Hotels are a key part of the solution to controlling Covid by providing very safe, highly-controlled, spacious environments for people to stay independent of the home setting. We have a proven safety record and this should be recognised by Government as part of its post-Christmas response to Covid.”
Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated that public health is always the number one priority, and that this is reflected in the statistics from the HPSC*, which show that hotels have been associated with very few clusters (less than 0.13%) since March – demonstrating the effectiveness of the extensive safety measures and training hotels have in place to minimise the risk from Covid.
The early reintroduction of restriction would also have a severe financial impact on hotel livelihoods during what is an absolutely vital trading period for hotels in terms of sustaining them during the first few months of next year, when business levels will be dramatically lower. She adds: “Given the loss of revenue involved and inadequate Government supports, it would have a devastating impact – not only on hotels, but on the livelihoods of people working in our sector, our local economies and communities.”