• Cyril McAree

TOURISM JOBS AT RISK WITH ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today stated that any additional Covid restrictions will create further difficulties and uncertainties for hotels and guesthouses that are already facing enormous challenges. Calling on the Government to provide increased employment supports to hospitality businesses struggling to retain staff, IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said: “As it stands right now, unless a higher level of subsidy is provided, tourism and hospitality businesses throughout the country will be forced to lay off tens of thousands of employees in the coming days.”

“This must be addressed urgently in the light of increasing restrictions if businesses are to retain staff and keep their experienced teams together. With businesses looking likely to have to close again for the next few weeks at least, our members will no longer be able to bridge the shortfall in subsidy levels during the difficult winter/spring months ahead.”

“If jobs are to be retained, the current rates of EWSS (Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme) support must be increased from €203 to the previous TWSS levels of €350/€410 per week for businesses that can demonstrate a 50% reduction in turnover for a 12-month period to 31 March 2021,” she added.

Commenting on the impact of potential additional restrictions, Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated: “Safeguarding public health must continue to be the overriding priority, while also protecting the economy. Like everyone, we had hoped that the current restrictions would have been effective in limiting the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country, thereby enabling an easing of restrictions. Therefore, it’s naturally very disappointing for everyone that further restrictions are now being considered.

“As part of the solution to Living with Covid, we urge the Government to put in place a process for greater engagement with business sectors including the hotel sector. Hotels provide very safe, controlled environments for guests and this should be a greater factor when considering restrictions.”

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