CORK Airport has called for the blanket 14-day quarantine rule to be lifted to reopen “inbound and outbound tourism” and to save jobs in the aviation, tourism, and hospitality sectors.
It comes as a Cork travel agent has called on the new Government to make a decision “rapidly” on foreign travel this summer.
Pat Dawson, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association, said what consumers are currently dealing with is “very, very unfair”.
Mr Dawson said: “The biggest problem we have is there are probably over 100 aircraft leaving Ireland tomorrow to go somewhere. The Government is saying you’re not to go.
“The consumer is going to lose all the money because airplanes are flying,” he said. He also said that people who have been told not to travel should be refunded, be it by the Government or the airlines.
Mr Dawson said numerous families have resigned themselves to taking the financial hit for holidays they cannot now go on.
The Government is looking to put in place air bridges with countries with low coronavirus infection rates by July 9, allowing them to bypass quarantine, in an effort to boost tourism.
Mr Dawson said clarity needs to be provided to consumers.
“We all have to be very careful and we all have to act responsibly, but there was no decision made by the last Government about anything,” he said.
“We need a decision to be made rapidly about exactly what they’re going to do long term.
“The airlines don’t care. They have the money, and they’ll keep the money. It’s very, very unfair to the consumer what’s happening to them at the moment.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cork Airport told The Echo that relaxing quarantine rules on entering Ireland is necessary.
“The lifting of the blanket 14-day quarantine for all passengers entering Ireland is necessary to the progressive reopening of inbound and outbound tourism and is necessary to save jobs throughout the aviation, tourism, and hospitality sectors,” the spokesperson said.
“Airlines like SWISS, Air France, KLM, and Ryanair have been making welcome announcements on the resumption of services from Cork Airport from tomorrow but for now, the Government advice is that all non-essential travel should be avoided."
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, and Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer have both expressed concern at the plans to open air bridges to facilitate non-essential travel.
“The risk of imported cases remains high,” said Dr Glynn. “It’s important that we continue to avoid all unnecessary travel at this time.”
The EU has also announced a list of 14 so-called ‘safe’ countries outside the bloc that are proposed to be permitted to travel to the EU, with China another addition, if the move is reciprocated.