Covid supports critical for sustaining livelihoods, says Irish Hotels Federation president

According to Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, across the hotel and guest house sector since the end of November, and looking forward to January 10th - €92 million in cancellations has been recorded.
Covid supports critical for sustaining livelihoods, says Irish Hotels Federation president

Vivienne Clarke

The president of the Irish Hotels Federation, Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, has called for the Employement Wage Subsidey Scheme (EWSS) to be retained at November levels amid ongoing concern over the impact Covid-19 is having on the hospitality sector.

This comes as Tánaiste told the Dáil on Thursday that the Government was waiting on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) before making any decision on reviving financial support for struggling sectors.

In recent days, some politicians have called for the higher level of Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) payments to the hospitality and events sectors to be restored, as so many planned events are being cancelled.

According to Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, across the hotel and guest house sector since the end of November, and looking forward to January 10th - €92 million in cancellations has been recorded.

"A lot of those cancellations have been event led in the main, but there are smaller events cancelling and what we can't quantify is people who never actually booked because of public health advice," Ms Fitzgerald-Kane said.

"It's very difficult because in normal times business in December would sustain the early months of the year - it kind of acts as a buffer.

"But these aren't normal times I suppose that's why we're in the space now of looking for extraordinary efforts to be made," she added.

"We've been assured that there'd be no cliff edge, but yesterday was a cliff edge, when Budget 2022 was designed, it was on the premise of a full reopening, that didn't happen, we understand why, but we have had further restrictions."

'Critical'

Ms Fitzgerald-Kane said having the EWSS with the current Covid-19 situation is critical for businesses and staff, with one in ten people being employed in the hospitality sector.

"In one respect you have that level of cancellation that comes with the restrictions, but concurrently you have the tapering back of what was a critical support in terms of sustaining livelihoods," she said

"So that's why we're calling for EWSS to remain in place at November subsidy levels for our sector for December and for the first quarter of next year.

"If no restrictions would be fit for purpose, but it does not reflect the current reality that we face now."

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