Hoteliers Disappointed At Decision To Delay Expansion Of Gatherings
Hoteliers have expressed their disappointment at the decision announced this evening by the Government not to increase the size of gatherings until 10th August. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said that “The health and safety of our teams and guests will always be our first priority. However, this ‘one size fits all’ decision doesn’t fully reflect the capacity of hotels or their proven track record in managing large gatherings safely.” She added that the lack of certainty puts thousands of hospitality jobs at risk at a time when many hundreds of hotels and wedding venues are struggling to survive particularly those for whom weddings and other family gatherings are the mainstay of their business.
Commenting on the decision, the IHF President stated: “Today’s decision will undermine the confidence of couples planning for their big day. Hotels have embraced the Government approved guidelines¹ for re-opening, which are already in place and proven to be working, as well as having plenty of space to manage people flow and physical distancing. Numerous gatherings of less than 50 guests have been hosted safely in Irish hotels over the past 18 days, since the date for smaller gatherings was brought forward, with no public health issues arising. These events are professionally run under the specific guidelines for gatherings which were developed in collaboration with Failte Ireland and approved by the HSE, NPSC, HSA and FSAI amongst others,” says Ms. Fitzgerald Kane. The IHF President stated that family events such as weddings by their nature allow for highly effective contact tracing. “Our teams, wedding couples and other event organisers as well as their guests have been fully compliant in ensuring contact tracing so that gatherings can be hosted safely and within the Government approved guidelines. It’s also particularly regrettable that hotels bars will not be able to reopen especially given the capacity of hotels to give ample social physical distancing.” “Hotels are already operating in a very challenging environment with average capacity of about 26% for the summer months compared with about 90% last year. Today’s decision adds to this pressure and we are calling for greater clarity around Phase 4 reopening, including linking of gathering size to venue capacity, as well as providing sector specific measures. The requirement for the July stimulus package to contain substantial supports is all the more important now given today’s announcement.”