Restrictions 'a massive blow' says IHF

The Irish Hotels Federation has described the additional Covid-19 restrictions announced g by the Government as 'a massive blow for hotels and guesthouses', saying they will have a devastating impact on hospitality businesses throughout the country.

IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane urged the Government to urgently intervene with immediate additional business and employment supports to sustain businesses into the New Year.She said “Public health is our number one priority, and we acknowledge the difficult balance that the Government has to achieve. Yet again however, the hospitality sector is bearing the brunt of these restrictions, resulting in enormous uncertainty and anxiety. This is soul destroying for businesses and for our teams and the many communities across the country that rely so heavily on tourism.”

“The financial hit to hotels and guesthouse has been truly stark in recent weeks, and today’s announcement is another severe blow. It is doing untold damage to businesses at a time when they are already struggling, with events cancelled and occupancy levels at near all-time lows. These restrictions must now be matched with meaningful business and employment supports, which are a lifeline to our sector.”

Ms Fitzgerald Kane called for immediate clarity in relation to additional supports including the re-introduction of enhanced CRSS business support payments. A mechanism is also required to allow businesses to re-enter the EWSS employment supports scheme if 30% down on turnover in any given month for the duration of the scheme.

“The Government strategy of supporting sectors most affected has worked so far. We are urging them to stay the course with tourism and hospitality businesses and their teams. Normally December trade sustains the very challenging off-peak months at the start of the new year, but this has been wiped out this year. This is about helping our tourism and hospitality industry to sustain and restore the 270,000 livelihoods across the country that it supported before the pandemic, equating to 1 in 10 of all Irish jobs, with 70% of these jobs located outside of Dublin. These jobs matter – not only to the people working within the industry but to the wider economy, especially the many parts of regional Ireland where tourism is the only show in town.”