A HOTELIER has said the hospitality sector in Cork is "beaten and exhausted" following confirmation from the Taoiseach that he will recommend to Cabinet “significant restrictions” on pubs and restaurants before New Year’s Eve.
Micheál Martin said that the Government would make a decision on restrictions at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Six further Covid-19 related deaths and 582 additional cases were confirmed today. There were 34 cases in Cork.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan warned this evening that all the key indicators are going in the wrong direction.
Mr Martin said he still wanted people to have a "meaningful Christmas", but that had to be balanced against protecting public health.
Owner of Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, Michael Magner, said that those in the sector are “so beaten and exhausted at this stage” and called on the Government to make a decision in relation to the reimposing of restrictions before Tuesday.
“We’re moving into Christmas week, hotels, restaurants and gastro pubs across the country have taken bookings in the strength of demand from the public and have placed forward orders with their suppliers,” he said.
He said that the thousands of people across the country on holiday over Christmas who planned to meet family members or loved ones at a hotel, restaurant or gastro pub will now be forced to gather in uncontrolled environments in the home which is “going to drive up the number of Covid-19 cases”.
“What I’m saying to the Government is we accept we’re not going to open until January 6 so let’s concede that but get to January 1 and allow us to trade in those controlled environments over the Christmas and New Year period,” he said.
The hotel had 3,600 people booked for weddings for December prior to the pandemic which accounted for approximately 18 weddings. Five of those weddings have moved into 2021 or beyond which left him with 13 weddings for December, or approximately 2,600 people.
That number is down to 357 people which he said means he has lost revenue of 3,200 people with “turnover destroyed when compared to this time last year”.
Noreen Gannon of Gallagher’s Gastro Pub on MacCurtain Street called for “immediate clarification” for the sector from the Government.
She said that data from the HPSC which showed that there were no outbreaks of Covid-19 associated with the sector over the two weeks since reopening shows that things are being done right in controlled environments.
“I think perpetrators should be punished and we shouldn’t all suffer because of bad behaviour from people,” she said.
Ms Gannon had just last weekend opened a new café and wine bar called Moody Tapas Bar on Lower Glanmire Road.
“Imagine closing down a brand new business, there are no benefits and no support whatsoever. After being brave enough to open a business at this time, a little bit of respect is needed,” she said.
Owner of Dukes Coffee Company, Aidan Duke, questioned why restaurants and cafés cannot remain open but close earlier in the evening or eliminate alcohol which has been branded a “challenge” by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
He also called for NPHET to release the science behind its recommendation which he said would make the situation “much easier for business owners, their employees, suppliers, and the whole chain” to understand.
“It has never been explained to us and never been outlined why once again hospitality is scapegoated,” he said.