THE government needs to do more to support those impacted by the latest Covid curfews.
That’s according to Don O’Sullivan of the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon who was speaking as restaurants, pubs and nightclubs have been ordered to close at midnight in a bid to address rising Covid cases.
Mr O’Sullivan feels that the new restrictions, while necessary, will once again cause severe hardship for many in the hospitality sector.
‘The numbers are rising fast and there is no getting away from that fact. The midnight curfew will not have too much of an effect on us at the moment, but with the busiest time of the year almost upon us, we have to get a hold on this now. We have to ensure people are supported and the government needs to do more,’ Don told The Southern Star.
Vintners Association of Ireland chief executive Padraig Cribben said the curfew would affect businesses at a ‘critical time of year’ and called for more State supports as the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys insisted she would not be reinstating the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for people who lose their job due to restrictions.
Deputy Michael Collins is also calling on the government for more supports for businesses in West Cork. ‘The real effect of the new measures will mean that some businesses will be forced to shut down, as staying open will not be economically viable,’ Deputy Michael Collins said.
‘Many workers having come off the PUP for instance, based on previous government announcements, may now be forced out of work, but will not be entitled to reapply for the payment.
‘For a government to put people in such a position five weeks before Christmas is awful and insensitive.’
His brother, Cllr Danny Collins, a publican in Bantry, said the restrictions would cause untold stress for the sector.
The earlier closing times will only impact him by one hour on Friday and Saturday nights, but he said for others it will have far more serious consequences.
‘I really feel for those who only got 48 hours notice on this. These business owners will already have spent thousands of euro on stock for the Christmas season and won’t know if they’ll get reimbursed for that or not. It’s very late messaging from the Government especially when they were only allowed to reopen a few weeks ago,’ he said.
‘It’s very stressful and messy for those concerned,’ he said.
The government has also asked that where possible people should work from home once again. Taoiseach Micheál Martin also refused to rule out further restrictions: ‘We are not ruling out any further measures and Nphet can come back at any particular time,’ he said.