IHF chair: ‘Public health is our number one priority’

Bernadette Randles: “There is a real sense that hotels are being disproportionately affected”

HOTELIERS in Killarney and throughout the county are calling on the government to allow people to travel outside their home county and to permit indoor dining in hotels, including for non-residents, as part of its reduced restrictions plan for December.

Irish Hotels’ Federation Kerry branch chair, Bernadette Randles, insists these measures will ensure hotels can reopen in a safe and sustainable manner, while helping to provide safe, controlled environments for people during the festive season.

“We are urging the government to recognise the important role hotels can play as part of the solution for a safer Christmas. Public health is our number one priority,” she said.

The Killarney hotelier said the sector’s proven track record is borne out by statistics from the HPSC which show that hotels have been associated with very few clusters (0.14%) since March.

The Dromhall Hotel in Killarney

“By allowing indoor dining, including for non-residents, the government can provide a safer option this year. The controlled environment of hotels can help to minimise the number and extent of social gatherings in home settings, thereby significantly reducing the risk this Christmas,” Ms Randles said.

Hoteliers are also seeking at least seven days’ notice of the revised restrictions for December to enable them to plan effectively.

They have claimed that before entering Level-5 restrictions, hotel revenues were already down by over 80 per cent and, as a result of the current restrictions, revenues have collapsed even further.

“There is a real sense within the sector that hotels are being disproportionately affected despite our commitment and proven track record in safeguarding public health,” said Ms Randles who is managing director of the Dromhall Hotel.

She stressed that hotels and guesthouses, along with the wider tourism industry, have been decimated by the impact of Covid-19 government restrictions since last March.

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