OPINION: Hotels and pubs should be allowed to open on the same day as restaurants and cafés, on June 29, if anything is to be salvaged for the tourism industry from the debris of the coronavirus pandemic, says Independent Kerry TD, Danny Healy-Rae
TODAY we hear travel agents and airlines advertising that Spain will be opening up on July 1st. In that same vein, I call on the Taoiseach to allow hotels and pubs to reopen on the same day as restaurants and cafés on June 29th and to give the tourism industry in Kerry, in places such as Killarney, Dingle, Caherciveen and right around the Ring of Kerry, the chance to avail of a few weeks of business.
We all hope the schools will go back in the last week of August so we are only talking about six to seven weeks of a window. If we do not open the hotels and pubs until August 10th, the season will be over and it will be gone for this year. Many places will just not open under those circumstances.
We need businesses and pubs to operate in order to create jobs and incomes. To do this, we need to adjust the two metre limit to one metre. The WHO, to which we gave more than €9 million, suggests that one metre will do.
The Programme for Government should be about getting our economy back up and running. It seems to me that for the last number of months, until this week, it has been about the climate and climate change. The fact is that our emissions are only 0.13% in the worldwide context.
Most businesses and SMEs will need grants to get themselves up and running and they will need a cash injection, as happened in Germany.
Bus and coach tour operatorss need guidance about seating. Yesterday, we heard from a tour operator that it is trying to sell tours for 2021 but it is not clear how many people will be allowed to sit on a 50-seater, a 30-seater or a 16-seater bus.
It is not fair on these companies that they are getting no guidance. Someone somewhere should, somehow, be able to tell them and guide them as to what will be acceptable.
The government still has not addressed the need for Covid payments for seasonal workers, or people over the age of 66, who really need whatever they were on to be brought up to the value of the Covid payment. They were not looking for the payment on top of what they were getting but just to bring them up to €350.
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