Gerry McInerney, Chief Executive Officer states “We are deeply concerned for our members and businesses around the country post the decisions made by cabinet. Our concern is that further measures will be needed in another few weeks. Businesses are paying the price for a continued lack of action among the unvaccinated, and as a result of a reduction in effective public health measures, such as masking, in the vaccinated population affecting the ability for businesses to plan and do business in the future.”
Our network has expressed their concerns that the current increase in covid cases is putting pressure on an already challenged health system and the actions which cabinet decided upon yesterday are half-measures which are unlikely to have the effect that government and society is hoping for.
The possibility of pre or post-Christmas “circuit breaker” lockdown is now a distinct possibility. The Chambers of Ireland are calling on government to clarify what their contingency plans are. Specifically, businesses need to know what further measures are likely to be introduced should the current circumstances continue to decline at the present rate, and also what measures are likely to occur should the worsening accelerate.
The Finance Bill also needs to be amended to ensure that ministers will have the flexibility needed to ensure that state supports are not being withdrawn while lockdowns and other economic restrictions are simultaneously being reintroduced.
With the increasing likelihood of further measures being needed, government need to recognise that businesses that have their activities restricted will require immediate supports, including wage subsidies, commercial rates waivers, and the reintroduction of restart grants for businesses where their operations are curtailed entirely.