BUSINESS figures within the Cork hospitality industry have expressed their disappointment following the Taoiseach’s admission that Ministers will not consider reopening hospitality until the middle of the summer.
Micheál Martin expressed concern about uncertainties surrounding new variants of coronavirus and high numbers of infections as he said: "We don't foresee the reopening of pubs etc before the middle of the summer.”
The chairman of the Cork branch of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, Michael O’Donovan said hearing this comment on a Saturday morning was disappointing.
"It affects over 200,000 people in the hospitality industry. We are all playing our part in following the guidelines but to get such devastating news and the timing of it was disappointing,” he said.
Mr O’Donovan of the Castle Inn in Cork city has called for more support to be made available to allay the fears of concerned members.
“If this transpires the current CRSS needs to be doubled because businesses are still paying the landlords and still have weekly outgoings and the current rate does not meet the requirements. Meaningful supports have to be put in place.
"The human capital leaving our industry is also becoming a major problem as people are looking elsewhere for jobs as they have financial worries,” he added.
Vienna Woods Hotel proprietor Michael Magner said he was disappointed with the lack of communication towards the hospitality sector.
“The issue we have is the Taoiseach taking it upon himself to tell our employees they won’t have their jobs back until the middle of the summer. I’m sure his intent was not ill-meaning, but the reality is that should be my job. I employ 100 people.
"Communication should have been better. We have representation associations across all the hospitality sector and an official from the Taoiseach’s department should have notified our trade association. We as employers should have the information to engage with our employees,” he said.
The Cork hotelier echoed his VFI counterpart by calling on increased supports for the industry going forward.
“The supports the government has provided us are welcomed, but they are going to have to be increased to ensure businesses don’t go under. The 270,000 people who work in this sector have no job security. EWSS, the commercial rates waiver, the CRSS, and bank moratoriums remain huge issues and will need to be continued.”
Mr Magner said the hospitality sector is facing a very 'bleak future’ if the hospitality industry doesn’t reopen until the middle of the summer.
“If we don’t re-open until the middle of July, we will only have six weeks of a holiday season. When you consider the real prospect of no international travel this year the entire hospitality sector is facing a very bleak future. It is going to be very difficult,” he added.