A CORK restaurant owner has called on the Government to provide guidance and support to businesses that are in unchartered waters as a result of Covid-19.
Claire Nash, who is at the helm of Nash 19 restaurant on Princes Street, said businesses need to be “kept in the loop” in terms of plans to kick-start the economy.
“Businesses need guidance from the Government.
"We need clarity in terms of a signposted road map on how the economy will be supported in its recovery,” she said.
“As an employer, I am the one who provides guidance to my staff but I need the tools from the Government first to be able to do that.”
Claire, who has been trading for 28 years, has steered the business through tough times over the years, including substantial flooding on a number of occasions and a fire but said that re-opening this time will be an immense challenge.
“I have to reinvent myself completely. It’s like starting all over again,” she said.
Claire, who is a Director of Cork Business Association (CBA), has been involved in compiling a list of five key initiatives which the association is calling on the Government to implement in order to support business recovery and preserve jobs.
“The huge area for our industry is the VAT.
"It’s something which we were speaking about since before the pandemic.
"We were already finding it difficult to pay that high rate of VAT.
"I think that will have to be zero rated and looked at in detail again in January,” she said.
Speaking to The Echo, Claire said she is considering other revenue streams in order to maintain a viable business when restrictions are eased.
“Expanding our takeaway service is definitely something which I will do.
"I am looking into extending our hours and possibly providing a night time offering.
"To compensate for a reduced capacity indoors in order to comply with social distancing I am in talks with Cork City Council to possibly set up seating outdoors on Princes Street – but that requires extra staff to cover hours and ensure guidelines are being complied with,” Claire explained.
She added that there will inevitably be a lot of additional guidelines to deal with, but that the business will embrace them.
“The wellbeing of customers and staff is of paramount importance, but it will take time to get used to creating almost a clinical environment I suppose.
"There is a lot that needs to be ironed out, but we will get there.
"It’s vital now that we get guidance from the Government.
"Of course, I understand that the pot is only so big, but businesses need help now and we need to be kept in the loop in terms of what’s happening."