Hoteliers Disappointed at Indoor Dining Delay
The Irish Hotels Federation, which represents hotel and guesthouse owners across the country, has expressed its disappointment at the Government’s announcement today that the reopening of indoor dining is being delayed. IHF President, Elaina Fitgerald Kane said the news was a crushing blow to businesses in the hospitality sector and the thousands of people who had been looking forward to returning to work next week.
“Public health remains the number one priority and we appreciate the challenges facing government as it seeks to reopen society and the economy safely. However, the past 15 months have been particularly difficult for the wider hospitality sector especially given the repeated and prolonged closures.
“These last-minute decisions are causing enormous challenges for businesses as well as being devastating to the morale of business owners and their teams. After weeks of planning and just as they thought they could start the long road to recovery, their plans have effectively been put on hold again. The impact of this delay will be felt far and wide, affecting suppliers and retailers as well as hospitality businesses. Indeed, in some cases, whole communities rely on the tourism and hospitality industry. Urgent clarity is required on what reopening will look like so business owners can plan effectively and realistically.
Ms Fitzgerald Kane stressed the importance of reopening non-essential international travel, saying it was critical to the recovery of the hospitality sector and the tourism industry in general. “The domestic market was very important last year and will be again this year. However, it does not replace international visitor numbers. As an island nation international tourism is critically important, accounting for over 70% of tourism revenue pre-COVID.”
The IHF President welcomed the news that easing of restrictions on weddings will proceed on 5th July when numbers attending receptions can increase to 50 guests. “The pandemic has had an incredible impact on couples and their families.”
“We look forward to the day when all restrictions are lifted. But in the meantime, this pandemic is continuing to disrupt the livelihoods of thousands of business owners and their teams across the wider hospitality sector and every effort must be made to minimise any further impact on them,” Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated.