Reflection on Inflection, and Covid engagement series

March 12, 2021

The latest CEO Update to Ibec membership from Danny McCoy

Dear member,

Whilst the news flow on the prospect of rewinding out of Covid restrictions remains stop/go, it is clear that the point of inflection in this pandemic is near and we must reflect on the what and the how we plan for the return - to education, to construction, to the main street and high street, to hospitality, to the office, to travel. In short, how to return to the experience economy and bring back the thousands of businesses and the people that power it.
We know that demand, whilst suppressed, will come flooding back for all these experiences to different degrees. The reflection needs now to be on the supply side of these experiences. Will the businesses, shops, restaurants, pubs, venues and offices be there to meet the demand? It is not dramatic to conclude the possibility that many will not have the resources to reopen if this prolonged lockdown continues. Now that vaccinations of the most vulnerable and front-line workers are reaching critical tipping points, how we reopen and what we need to do must be the priority by Easter. All stakeholders can focus on this agenda without creating division.

In letters issued to An Taoiseach and senior members of the cabinet over the last week, Ibec has set out clear asks on more targeted business supports, the need to avoid a cliff edge in existing measures and for engagement on international travel quarantine measures calling out how Ireland is out of step with international competitors and that essential business travel must be facilitated.  We are many weeks into this lockdown and these issues require urgent clarification for business. The lockdown is also precipitating longer-term challenges for society and business which if continue to surface will thwart the build back better agenda. These are consequences we cannot afford.

One year on, we have learnt a lot and crucially we have tools at our disposal to stop transmission the virus. Rapid antigen testing provides a real opportunity to catalyse change in how we fight the virus and empower people to shut it down.  This option deserves greater consideration and investment in tandem with the vaccination roll out.

Business too must be accountable and provide leadership during these times. Those who can, must do everything to support and coordinate on finding solutions to the crisis.  To support this effort, Ibec will convene an engagement series on Covid for business and stakeholders. Please register to attend the series at the links below and I will be back in touch with more detail.

24 March 2021: 09:00-10:15am 
International travel: quarantine measures, vaccination passports and testing regime 

31 March 2021: 09:00-10:15am 
Vaccine rollout and antigen testing: where to next for Business?

29 April 2021: 09:00-10:15am  
Workplace impact: dealing with changing work practices and optimizing the value of the office

Ibec continues to influence Government on the importance of a risk-based roadmap which as a living strategy must be continuously reviewed.  Focusing on what can reopen and how is imperative for business, it will build confidence in our future and removes some of the frustration around the absence of a clear timeline. This requires a mindset shift in the current political approach and for the default to empower and support business and society to make a success from reopening.

Please get in touch if you have any comments or queries.

Best wishes,

Danny McCoy