SPEEDING up the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions that have been affecting the tourism and hospitality sector is indeed good news and, all going well, should allow them to salvage at least some of the peak season business that they feared had been lost to them. The government’s decision to condense the lifting of restrictions from five phases to four means that hotels, restaurants and pubs will be able to open three weeks earlier than originally ordained – albeit with strict two-metre social distancing guidelines – and hopefully, by the end of June, there won’t any restrictions on the distance people can travel within the country.
The Tourism Recovery Taskforce (TRT) has made some worthwhile recommendations to government, including the ubiquitous re-introduction of a reduced rate of VAT to stimulate demand in the tourism and hospitality sector, which should be a given. The government, as requested, has accelerated some re-openings, but the TRT wants a move to one-metre social distancing with additional precautionary measures, as set out in protocols being published by Fáilte Ireland.
TRT wants to delay the schools re-opening to the week beginning August 31st. This would allow the domestic holiday season to maximise the month of August.
Furthermore, the Taskforce wants the government to allow schools the option of taking the week-long October mid-term break during one of two weeks (rather than just one week) in order to facilitate families wishing to holiday in Ireland, which they probably will if the prices are not jacked up for the mid-term.
It also wants the removal of the two weeks of self-isolation recommendation for travellers from overseas countries that are considered to be ‘safe’ points of origin.