• Cyril McAree

Hoteliers Open Letter to Government: Let Us Help Make Christmas Safer

Hotels and guesthouses across the country are urging the Government to reopen hotels and allow people to travel outside their county from the beginning of December. In an open letter to Ministers1 today, Tim Fenn, Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation says failure to do so would be a missed opportunity that could have a detrimental impact on public buy-in to Covid-19 restrictions and limit the choice of safer options where families can meet in the run-up to Christmas.

“Public health is the No 1 priority, and we understand the difficult challenges and choices facing Government in reopening society in a safe way. However, continuing to restrict people’s ability to travel during the month of December takes a sledgehammer to an issue that is much more nuanced. Why restrict people’s ability to travel outside their county to stay in a hotel or dine in a hotel setting when they are proven to provide safe, controlled environments? With just 0.01% of clusters2 linked to hotels, according to the latest HPSC figures, hotels should be viewed as an important part of the infrastructure in enabling a safer Christmas. We urge the Government to recognise the role we can play in ensuring a safer Christmas.”

Mr Fenn added: “Government must take a more balanced approach to the revised restrictions and in doing so, it is crucial to have a complete understanding of the economic costs involved and the longer-term implications. For many hotels, bookings within their own county would account for less than 10% of their December turnover. There is therefore scant difference between level three and level five restrictions in terms of how hotels can operate.

“Hotels and guesthouses across the country would face significant loss in revenue next month if the mooted Government restrictions go ahead. Given the enormous loss of revenue already this year, this will have a devastating impact – not only on hotels, but on their local economies, employees and communities,” he stated.

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