"Lockdown of the sector" if government accepts closure advice, say reps 1 month ago

"Lockdown of the sector" if government accepts closure advice, say reps

The measures will be discussed by Cabinet today.

Hospitality representatives have said that if the government accepts NPHETs current recommendation it will be a "lockdown of the sector."

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The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended a 5pm closing time for pubs and restaurants from Monday next, as well as similar measures to be imposed on theatres, cinemas, and sporting events.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland said today that if these restrictions are imposed it would be “devastating." They said: "Don’t think there are any words left for what NPHET is doing to the hospitality sector.”

The Licensed Vintners Association added: “Completely shut down hospitality without telling me you really want to shut down hospitality", while the Restaurant Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the approval of these measures would mean “a lockdown of the sector."

"No other European country is implementing such a draconian measure,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan is understood to have sent a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Thursday outlining NPHET's concerns regarding the spread of the Omicron variant.

According to RTÉ News, NPHET expressed "exceptional" concern over the rise of the variant and the increasing pressure facing the Irish healthcare system.

The group is also recommending a 5pm shutdown for sporting, theatre and cultural gatherings – including cinemas – as well as a reduction to 50% capacity – or a maximum of 5,000 people – for outdoor events.

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Cabinet is expected to meet today to discuss these potential new measures ahead of the busiest part of the season for the hospitality sector.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said this week that further restrictions were likely to be introduced.

"I think it is likely there will be some further changes as we approach the Christmas period," he said.

"I again understand the anxiety and the deepening fatigue that so many face at the moment but our booster vaccination campaign is picking up speed by the hour and we do have the measure of this pandemic.

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