Hotels can continue to offer 'essential services' and restaurants can sell take-away meals under new measures introduced by the Government to delay the spread of Covid 19.Theatres, clubs, gyms and leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries, and other similar outlets are to shut;
Hotels are to limit occupancy to non-social and non-tourist reasons;
All cafes and restaurants are to limit supply to take- away food or delivery;
A €3.7bn financial package was also announced in order to soften the blow for the economy, as Social Protection Regina Doherty said that her previous prediction of 400,000 job losses now looks “conservative”.
The package includes:
A wage subsidy scheme will see the State fund up to 70% of pay, with a maximum weekly tax-free payment of €410 per employee;
Rates for the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment will rise to €350 per week;
Enhanced illness payment for those required to self-isolate or those diagnosed with coronavirus, will be increased from €305 to €350.
Exemptions from normal planning rules to allow restaurants and cafes to provide takeaway and delivery services during the coronavirus pandemic have been approved by the Government.
Minister for Planning Eoghan Murphy announced the measures as part of a series of actions on planning during the Covid-19 crisis.
In addition, businesses involved in the food and retail sectors which operate outside hours which would not comply with their planning permission will not face enforcement action given the compelling reasons in the public interest to support the delivery of food and essential supplies during the crisis.
A multi-billion euro wage package will see the government pay up to €410 a week of wages while workers and the self-employed who have lost jobs from the virus will also see payments increased.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that the emergency wage measures were designed to try and keep people in jobs to avoid even worse economic difficulties in future.
The wage subsidies and increased jobless payments for workers will cost the State some €3.7bn over a 12-week period.
Cabinet agreed the measures after other countries, including the UK and Denmark also introduced such protections.
As part of the package, the government will pay a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees.
Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19, with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover.
This scheme is open to impacted employers in all sectors.