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Government's 'pause' on Phase 4 puts hospitality jobs at risk

The president of the Irish Hotels Federation Elaina Fitzgerald Kane has said that “hitting the pause button” on the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations will put thousands of hospitality jobs at risk at a time when hotel room occupancy is only 30 per cent.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms Fitzgerald Kane called for more clarity around the Phase 4 reopening, including linking the size of a gathering to the capacity of a venue.

While she understood the reason for the ‘pause’ on the final phase of reopening, she was disappointed. The pause will also have an impact on people who had planned gatherings in hotels and wedding venues, she said.

Around 18,000 couples this year will have their wedding day plans impacted by Covid-19 with many already changing their arrangements two to three times, she added.

Health and safety had always been and remained the priority of the sector – for staff and visitors, she said.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told Morning Ireland that public health advice was that if pubs reopened now, it could “materially add to the possibility of a second wave” of the coronavirus.

The Government would be prioritising the reopening of schools and healthcare facilities he said, while he hoped there would be no need for enforcement of wearing face covering in shops.