Lockdown flattens small businesses, says ISME Chief Executive

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galway daily news nphet level 5 lockdown

The Chief Executive of ISME has warned that bringing in increased Covid-19 restrictions immediately after Christmas will be devastating for small businesses.

ISME say that they are worried about increased pre-New Year restrictions not because they are against the use of lockdown to fight Covid, but because it should not be “the only tool used against it”.

“Lockdown is very effective at flattening the curve with a hammer, but it flattens small business as well,” said Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of ISME.

“We have made this repeatedly clear, as has the advice from the WHO. We wrote to all Ministers and TDs with the note below on 2 November.

“We wrote to the Tánaiste with the attached letter on 9 December, advocating rapid antigen testing before New Year return to work.”

Mr McDonnell said that Dr Tony Holohan “effectively undermined antigen testing” on Morning Ireland today, “despite the fact that is has a useful part to play, especially in workplaces where employees must physically show up to work”.

“This is despite the fact that the EU Commission adopted a clear recommendation on Antigen testing in November.”

The EU Commission said that rapid antigen tests can offer a significant advantage over RT-PCR tests in terms of simplicity of equipment needed, lower demands of highly skilled operators, price and timeliness of results, by providing health services with easy to use and rapid results which will also help to relieve the pressure on healthcare systems

“We have enough experience with the Covid-19 virus to know that there are other measures we should be taking to control its spread,” added Mr McDonnell.

“Testing, tracing, isolation and control must be part of that suite of measures, and employers have told Government that they are willing to play their part, consistent with the guidelines set out by the EU Commission.”