The hospitality sector warns of new measures to deal with Covid

Concern has been raised about the impact that new measures to deal with the latest Covid-19 crisis will have on the hospitality industry.

Representatives of the sector, which has only recently fully reopened, warned the Government on Tuesday that additional support will be needed in the coming weeks.

The Government says pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Ireland will have a closing time at midnight from Thursday.

People will also be encouraged to work from home, if possible, starting Friday.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said on Tuesday: “This is not like a previous blockade where the entire economy is closed.

“This is a curfew, not a closure.


Members of An Garda outside the Copper Face Jack’s nightclub in Dublin (Garrett White / PA)

She said the hospitality industry would still need staff, despite the new measures.

The Association of Licensed Winemakers (LVA) has called on the government to immediately reintroduce Covid support for the nightlife sector.

Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said: “We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated, we could return to trade.

“Well, we waited and that wasn’t enough.”

The Irish Music and Entertainment Association also warned that the new closing time of midnight was already leading to the cancellation of the concerts.

“We fully understand the need for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, to protect the public and our health care system, but it is vital that livelihoods are also protected,” said spokesman Matt McGranaghan.

He said the pandemic unemployment payment had to be reintroduced.

“Workers in this industry are now in the worst place they have been since March 2020,” he added.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told RTE: “I am against any approach this Government has taken.

“I oppose blurring and delaying and mixing messages and confusion and what I want to see right now is the foundation of public health for these decisions.

“What we have is a government that at this point seems unable to plan a way forward and take decisive action.

“Telling nightclubs that they have to close at 12 in the morning, when nightclubs open at 12 in the morning, is a farce.”

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