At the last meeting between the Department of the Taoiseach and representatives of the hospitality sector government officials asked that the hospitality trade associations assist with efforts to promote a message to the wider public that adherence to public health best practice remains of paramount importance.
This request came on the back of reports that the Economic and Social Research Institute had earlier found that the number of outlets not asking customers for Covid-19 certification had almost doubled in just one month to 37%, judged by the number of indoor pub diners who said they’d not been asked for certification compared with 21% the previous month.
So, at often overlooked considerable expense and effort, the majority (63%) were seen to be complying with the Covid precautions being asked of them.
Throughout this Covid saga, the hospitality trade has been only too willing to co-operate with Government – indeed frequently seeking meetings with same to establish complete clarity, but seldom getting satisfaction in this respect.
While government rightly decided the pressing issues of the Covid day in hospitality, it was actually the industry itself who’d to deal with the fallout from its deliberations and decisions.
And being informed in a timely manner of these decisions would have been of enormous help to hospitality in making adequate preparations to more efficiently usher in any such new restrictions. This never happened.
So, it was a wee bit unfair of the Taoiseach to slap down the industry, telling it to “moderate its language” after LVA Chair Noel Anderson claimed that the industry had been treated like “dirt” by the government over the past two years.
Clearly the hospitality industry feels aggrieved that it has had to discover and make plans to execute incoming government restrictions at very very short notice by the only means open to it – media reports or through hearsay from ‘insiders’ – instead of being given the straightforward dignity of being on the receiving end of a direct line of communication as a body from the transmitting end – the government.
Throughout the pandemic, those restrictions seemed to be so airily introduced by a Government that had never taken on board the need to communicate in a timely manner with the industry itself. Any wonder then, the strength of feeling being displayed by this key sector of the economy?