Aontú Leader, Peadar Tóibín TD has criticised the ongoing crisis faced by the indoor dining and the hospitality sector and has raised over concerns over the long-term recovery of the sector.
The Meath West TD accused the government of keeping the sector trapped in a never-ending “hospitality guessing game”. Indoor regulations are only being finalised this weeked, ahead of opening next Monday.
An Teachta Tóibín said: “The Hospitality Sector has been hammered – perhaps the hardest – by the government’s complete mismanagement of the Covid-19 response. Wet pubs were closed for 400+ days. Then the country was in full-blown lockdown for over 7 months – once again an outlier in Europe.”
“Outdoor dining was touted as the vehicle for the economic recovery of the sector, only for the government to fail to ensure the legality of the policy. The answer at that point was for Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’,” he said.
“This of course follows on from the farcical policies of the substantive meal to ward off Covid-19, and the crazy distinction to be made between a hotel indoor dining and restaurant indoor dining. This is before NPHET and the government reversed course at the eleventh hour only a few weeks ago and halt the reopening of indoor dining.”
“Now we are an infamous outlier for the severity of our Vaccine discrimination. We have heard of restaurants not reopening due to the new discrimination laws. It seems strange to have to say this, but discrimination is wrong. It has not been used anywhere else in Europe and antigen testing would have resolved the difficulty.”
“Indoor dining regulations for next Monday will only being confirmed at the weekend – days before reopening. What hope does the sector have of recovery when this is how the government has managed the sector so far?”
“With every effort to swim against the tide of best international practice the government has opened up another can of worms. This has been to the major cost of so many. We need a long-term strategy for the rehabilitation and recovery of our hospitality sector,” he said.