1000s of jobs at risk: Phase four delay ‘a big concern for hotels’

1000s of jobs at risk: Phase four delay ‘a big concern for hotels’

“A lot of hotels rely on functions and banqueting, so I know there is a lot of anxiety among a number of our member hotels in relation to that, and who are anxious to get more flexibility on that for wedding couples going forward.”

Thousands of hospitality jobs have been threatened by the Government's decision not to increase the size of gatherings in Ireland until next month, hoteliers warned. 

A Cork hotelier says the deferral of the phase four lifting of restrictions is a “big concern for a lot of hotels” in terms of the number of people allowed to gather indoors remaining at a maximum of 50.

That number was due to rise to 100 on July 20 before the announcement that current health measures will remain until August 10.

“A lot of hotels rely on functions and banqueting, so I know there is a lot of anxiety among a number of our member hotels in relation to that, and who are anxious to get more flexibility on that for wedding couples going forward,” said Fergal Harte, Cork chairman of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and general manager of the Kingsley Hotel.

Average occupancy rates are running at about a quarter for the summer months compared with about 90% last year, the Irish Hotels Federation said.

President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said: "The lack of certainty puts thousands of hospitality jobs at risk at a time when many hundreds of hotels and wedding venues are struggling to survive particularly those for whom weddings and other family gatherings are the mainstay of their business."

Restrictions on indoor gatherings to 50 and outdoors to 200 will remain until August 10, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said on Wednesday.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane said: "Today's decision will undermine the confidence of couples planning for their big day.

"Hotels have embraced the Government-approved guidelines for reopening, which are already in place and proven to be working, as well as having plenty of space to manage people flow and physical distancing.

"Numerous gatherings of less than 50 guests have been hosted safely in Irish hotels over the past 18 days, since the date for smaller gatherings was brought forward, with no public health issues arising."

She said family events such as weddings by their nature allowed for highly effective contact tracing.

She added the requirement for the Government's July stimulus package to contain substantial supports was all the more important now.

"It is also particularly regrettable that hotels bars will not be able to reopen especially given the capacity of hotels to give ample social physical distancing."

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