Level 3, Is Hospitality A Scapegoat?
The country has now moved into level 3 restrictions as a result of the covid re-infection rates. To be honest they are worrying and a cause for real concern. However, an element of commonsense must prevail. The vast majority of communal infections have been traced to large social activity, primarily within in private homes. These activities ranged from house parties, to celebrations of communions etc. Equally, disquiet was expressed with regard to some recent sporting events and the lack of social distancing and proper marshalling of the celebrations around these fixtures. The infection rates and cross contamination are in the main relatively low within properly run restaurants, hotels and gastro pubs, and don’t appear to represent a major problem.
There have however been questions raised about how difficult it is to control the clientele in a property, such as a wet pub, that is not used to offering food as a normal part of its business.
The rational put forward by the government for the necessity to implement strict conditions re the outbreaks, is the demand any increase of cases would place on the health recourses within our hospitals.
Whilst this is unfortunately true, the real reason I surmise that there would be a strain placed on our health services, could also be caused by a serious lack of real investment within the hospital stock. Over years millions have being spent on reports about reports, with no serious investment in critical care beds taking place. We have witnessed the downgrading of numerous hospitals throughout the country, further exacerbating the problem.
It therefore is justly unfair to scapegoat the hospitality sector and those working in the sector for the failure of consecutive governments lack lustre investment and ensure adequate resources are available. Those engaged and experienced within our restaurants, hotels and gastro pubs have shown resolve and commitment to ensure the safety and well being of customers and staff.
If the government is serious about tackling the problems involved with the spread of covid, it’s time for tough action on those breaking the guidelines. Any house parties taking place during the restrictions should be given say 20 minutes by the Garda to cease and failure would result in arresting those present. The householder should face a fine of say €1000 for allowing the party to have taken place. Equally any business found to be breaching the rules should be automatically closed for 1 month and fined €5000 for breaches of regulations.
If a few high profile cases were to be seen taking place, it would prove that the powers that be are taking no prisoners and will surely result in compliance and give every business across all sectors a chance to rebuild business and aim to future proof jobs and the economy.