This Government response is centred on restricting economic activity to a much greater extent than any other country in Europe including full or partial closures of non-food pubs and much harsher international travel restrictions than our European neighbours have experienced.
The 429 individual businesses that signed today’s letter together employ thousands of people in Ireland and their impact reaches well beyond those who’re directly employed, touching every city, town, village and rural community with a far-reaching supply chain.
Concerns raised about lasting damage
The letter, also signed by associations such as the LVA, the VFI, the IHF, the RAI and Drinks Ireland, says that many businesses operating in the experience economy are being constrained disproportionately. Alongside the enormous impact for the businesses in question, the consequences of overly restrictive measures will reach deep into the Irish economy. The current Irish approach risks not just short term, but long-lasting and irreparable damage to the economy and Irish society, it warns.
In total, the experience sector contributes €4.5 billion in wages, salaries and employment taxes every year.
More than 330,000 people are either employed directly or supported directly by demand from the sector.
“We are extremely concerned about the re-closure of hospitality venues and its emergence as a primary strategy to address the spread of the virus,” states the letter, “Ireland already imposed one of the longest hospitality lockdowns in Europe, with non-food pubs in Dublin never having opened. Many businesses operating in the experience economy are being constrained disproportionately. Other countries in Europe, many of whom are managing Covid effectively, have not resorted to closing the hospitality sector.”
The letter urges the Government firstly to look to best practice internationally, to look to countries that have managed to keep their experience economy sector open while at the same time taking clear and targeted approaches to controlling the spread of the disease in communities.
It secondly calls for a much more targeted set of measures and supports for the sectors most impacted by Covid and its restrictions.
“It is now clear that the measures announced in July are insufficient,” emphasises the letter.
“Finally, we urge for much greater engagement and coordination with the industries most impacted by the current restrictions. For example, the incredibly short notice given for the recent closures in Ireland caused unnecessary economic hardship to many businesses and could have been avoided, while consultation is also essential in the design and delivery of effective support measures.”
The letter points out that, “The hospitality and experience sector are regulated environments and have proven to be responsible players throughout the crisis.”