• Cyril McAree

Government Must Strike The Right Balance Or Risk Losing Public Buy-In

Hotel and guesthouse owners have expressed their deep concern at reports that the Government is considering introducing a number of different grades of Covid-19 restrictions across December. Tim Fenn, Chief Executive, Irish Hotels Federation states that such an approach would lead to confusion and uncertainty which is counterproductive.

“Public health is the No 1, and we understand the difficult challenges and choices facing Government in reopening society in a safe way following the easing of restrictions on December 1st. However, introducing a host of different restriction levels over such a short period of time is not the answer. The danger is that too many restrictions will cause confusion amongst the public, and they won’t achieve the full buy-in of the very people they are trying to reach, and heighten, rather than minimise the risk. It is imperative that the Government strikes the right balance this Christmas.

Hoteliers are calling on the Government for clarity on the restrictions and at least seven days’ notice prior to their introduction. They are also urging the Government to allow people to travel outside their county and to permit in-door dining in hotels, including for non-residents, as part of its reduced restrictions for reopening society safely this December. Mr Fenn says these measures will ensure hotels can reopen in a safe and sustainable manner, while helping to provide safe, controlled environments for people during the festive season this year.

“Hotels can be an important part of the infrastructure in facilitating a safer Christmas this year. Hotels provide very safe, highly-controlled, spacious environments with extensive measures in place to minimise the risk. The sector’s proven track record is borne out by statistics from the HPSC, which show that hotels have been associated with very few clusters (0.14%) since March – that is less than one seventh of one percent.”

Mr Fenn added: “Furthermore, by allowing indoor dining, including for non-residents, the Government can provide a safer option this year. The controlled environment of hotels can help to minimise the number and extent of social gatherings in home settings, thereby significantly reducing the risk this Christmas.”

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