Companies seek certainty in the reopening plan
Certainty over financial backing and the strategy to reopen businesses over the next few months is required from today’s Cabinet meeting on Covid-19 restrictions, Chambers Ireland said.
The organization, which represents 41 individual chambers of commerce across the country, said reopening deadlines must contain targets and be realistic.
“First and foremost, the priority for our members is that the reopening be sustainable,” said Ian Talbot, CEO of the organization.
“We must not find ourselves in the same situation as last year where a too quick reopening was followed by a spike in infections and another lockdown.
“This result would be unacceptable to our members.”
Mr Talbot said companies need sufficient notice to be able to recruit and train staff, replenish stock and make changes to their premises.
They also need continued financial support, he said.
“With the existing extensions in place until June, vulnerable businesses need to be assured of how long wage supports, subsidies, waivers and debt warehousing will be available,” he said.
“Being realistic, many businesses will need some level of financial support for the remainder of this year.”
Chambers Ireland also said urban centers will need support
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According to plans the Cabinet will review today, click-through retailing would resume as of May 10, along with personal services such as hairdressers.
All stores would reopen from May 17, and hotels and guesthouses would reopen on June 2.
Outdoor hospitality in restaurants and pubs would start again from June 7.
Retail Excellence has welcomed the projects expected from the government with reserve.
But the organization wondered why there was a need for a gap between reopening click and collect and non-essential retail when every day matters to retailers.
Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence, said it was “baffling” that the government thought full retail can’t be opened at the same time as clicking and collecting.
“Every day matters to businesses and we don’t see why we can’t reopen all businesses at the same time on May 10. The government seems to be over-designing when to reopen when it would be better to keep it simple,” Said Graham said.
Retailers are also concerned that the full reopening of non-essential retail in Northern Ireland from tomorrow will affect businesses.
Mr Graham said retailers will look to the government for significant support programs, including rent assistance, restart subsidies and the extension of tariff exemptions as they plan to reopen.
Meanwhile, restaurateurs have said they are “deeply concerned” about the suggestions The Cabinet will sign the proposals allowing hotel and guesthouse restaurants to offer indoor dining options from June 2 through by limiting independent restaurants, cafes and gourmet pubs to al fresco dining only from June 7.
“The suggestion that the government will approve such a proposal to divide hotel restaurants and independent restaurants into two categories is a decision that is anti-competitive, unfair and without medical, scientific or public health justification,” said the Restaurants Association of Ireland.