Latest: Pubs and restaurants to be 'battleground' in lockdown exit talks

Latest: Pubs and restaurants to be 'battleground' in lockdown exit talks

“We’ve gone through everything from the resurfacing of Patrick’s Street to recessions and financial crashes and I’ve never seen such utter chaos." 

LATEST: Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he wants Ireland to exit Level 5 of Covid-19 restrictions on December 1st.

However, he said this Christmas will be a very different one from previous ones in that large groups people could not congregate in pubs or other settings.

“That will pose challenges for us. It will not be a normal Christmas but it can still be a safe and enjoyable Christmas if we mind ourselves and if we mind others,” he told Virgin Media News.

Asked about the easing of travel restrictions, he replied: “We would like to see some relaxation of 5km and county borders.” It is expected that by the end of next week the Government will finalise the plan for exiting the lockdown and managing the pandemic during December.

Restaurant owners are pleading for more information about what is to come in December so they can order stock, hire staff and prepare for reopening.

EARLIER: A CORK cafe owner has urged the Government to reach a decision on Covid-19 restrictions and communicate it to businesses, describing the lack of leadership as ‘horrific’.

Richard Jacob of Idaho Cafe is hoping to be able to reopen his business once Level 5 restrictions are lifted on December 1. He is sharply critical of the recent pattern of “leaks” from the Government on Covid-19 recommendations and restrictions.

“We’ve been running Idaho for 20 years next year and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he told The Echo.

“We’ve gone through everything from the resurfacing of Patrick’s Street to recessions and financial crashes and I’ve never seen such utter chaos.

“There’s no reason in the world why they couldn’t have come up with some kind of a plan or some kind of a communication strategy. I understand that we are in pandemic and we’re all in this together, but the lack of leadership is just horrific.

“The Government need to stop the leaks, stop changing the story, stop changing the levels and start giving the people of Ireland an idea of what we can do and what we can expect.”

The café owner says a minimum of 10 days’ notice would be required for him to reopen his business. Indications from Government are that details on the lifting of Level 5 restrictions will be announced towards the end of next week but Mr Jacob is calling for clarification on Monday.

Idaho Café has been closed for almost 50 days under level 5 restrictions and Mr Jacob said he is concerned about his staff who need to know when they will be coming back to work.

“It’s completely unfair,”he said. “We have members of staff here who have been with us for more than 10 years and they have been sitting at home, unemployed on a pandemic payment for nearly 50 days and they are waiting to come back to work.

“It’s not fair and it’s just not good enough.”

He also expressed concern for suppliers who may have to deal with a last-minute demand from businesses across Cork, if a decision is not made soon.

“Every restaurant in Cork is suddenly going to be ringing up the English Market looking for food,” he said.

“I don’t know how they’re supposed to do it.

“Everyone working in hospitality just deserves a little bit more respect from the government.”

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