The plan; what it means for business
It is positive to see momentum behind economic reopening confirmed in this evening’s announcement by An Taoiseach Michael Martin on the Government Covid Plan. Government has achieved the correct balance in the short-term reopening announcements given the current circumstances, but greater momentum will be required in the coming weeks.
We now see an outline for many milestones which will ease these months of lockdown. This response placates some of Ibec’s immediate priorities set out in our letter to An Taoiseach and the Cabinet earlier this week and allows many businesses to re-emerge to build back their livelihoods.
Many sectors within Ireland’s Experience Economy must now prepare for a relaunch. Beginning with outdoor hospitality, and with strong potential to build on that, to be ready in a few weeks to being fully operational as safe and controlled environments for their customers. Over 330,000 people are employed within the Experience Economy and this change provides equity for those workers and the people who employ them. Confidence in the vaccination programme, along with demand and pace of roll out should give the Government the cue to go further in matching competing jurisdictions in restoring economic activity.
Significantly, Ibec’s request to increase public transport capacity to 50% as an important underpinning to bring about a return to the office has been accepted. This is again positive and means that peak travel times will be freed up from school commuters as of June to provide the infrastructure for office commuters. Now business requires clear guidelines for the gradual return to office so employers can effectively address cases of isolation and mental health risk as well as reigniting innovation and collaboration back into business.
Mandatory Hotel Quarantine continues to be a major concern for business, in particular that no exemption is provided for subject matter experts. Ibec has shared stark evidence of the toll this is currently taking on key companies based in Ireland and the domino effect this has on critical medical supplies into our health system.
For now, we have much to look forward to as a business community, but we continue to operate with many questions and uncertainty. There will be serious challenges ahead in how we manage widespread the relaunch and reengagement. To support you with the many issues arising, Ibec has updated advice on the practical aspects of reopening your businesses from both employment and health and safety perspectives which you can view here.