The government needs to provide a clearer roadmap for businesses which are in “disarray” as a result of COVID-19 restrictions decisions Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.
The Independent TD said that there need to be “definitive decisions” which are then stuck to, rather than shifting scenarios.
Businesses were allowed to reopen at the end of the Level 5 lockdown on December 1, with pubs and restaurants in the hospitality industry following on December 4.
After reopening in the summers, businesses had to shutter once again for a six week lockdown following an uptick in cases again in October.
While this period of relaxed restrictions was originally meant to last until January 6, it is now expected that fresh restrictions will be brought in before the new year as daily cases have increased dramatically in recent days.
“The hospitality sector in particular has taken a massive hit this year as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdowns. Hotels, pubs and restaurants have all suffered in 2020,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.
“However, when the Government previously outlined they would be open for the Christmas period, extensive planning went into their reopenings.”
“Staff were brought back, with many of them having been in receipt of the Covid payment, and orders for stock were lodged.”
Deputy Fitzmaurice added that it is unacceptable that a “chopping and changing” of plans for the Christmas period could leave businesses facing ruination.
“Definitive decisions need to be made and stuck too. Businesses, as well as their suppliers, cannot afford to be following one plane – only for that to be thrown on its head in a matter of days.”
The government has, however, found itself responding to unexpected circumstances beyond its control on top of the recent domestic spike in COVID-19 cases.
The most recent alarm in the coronavirus pandemic has come from a new strain of the virus circulating in the UK which is believed to be far more easily transmissible.
This has resulted in a ban on all travel from the UK by the Irish government, along with many other countries, while large amounts of the UK are now under the highest level of restrictions.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on RTÉ’s This Week Radio programme that he believes it likely that this strain has already arrived in Ireland due to the amount of traffic between our two countries.