It’s a waiting game until April 12th.
But the Taoiseach’s announcement that Level 5 restrictions will continue for another six weeks at least, and possibly longer, has been met with deep frustration in the business community.
President of Cork Chamber, Paula Cogan said the announcement from Government does not provide enough clarity on sectoral reopening timelines.
“Ongoing ambiguity will cause further frustration for the businesses that have been desperately working to plan for reopening while supporting their valued employees and suppliers in this extremely challenging environment,” said Cogan.
“While the areas influencing Government decision making on the reopening of society have been outlined as community transmission levels, hospital and ICU occupancy and the vaccine programme, precise detail on these targets and the resulting impacts have yet to be communicated.”
Ms Cogan said the continuation of restrictions will cause deeper financial harm to individual businesses, to mental health and wellbeing and to communities across the region.
“While we acknowledge the necessity of these restrictions to safeguard our population, it must be noted that each additional week of restriction is taking its toll as businesses remain closed, employees remain out of work and the long term impact on our exchequer continues to mount.” she said.
Makes me sad to say but for the first time in 20 years not sure I want a restaurant anymore . I’m sure I’m not alone tonight.
— Kev Aherne (@KevinAherneChef) February 20, 2021
Cork Chamber is calling for the extension of Covid supports far beyond June, the rapid deployment of the Business Aid Scheme as well as “more precise communications and metric oriented milestones” to guide businesses out of lockdown.
Construction ban ‘eroding progress’ on home supply
Meanwhile, The Irish Home Builders Association has expressed its disappointment that the delay to private home building activity is set to continue.
As an industry, we have a proven health and safety track record.” said James Benson, Director IHBA.
“The evidence is clear. We have had 35,000 workers working on social housing, FDI and designated essential projects since January and the HSE produced figures show only 42 cases of covid at peak during this time.
“We are increasingly concerned about the impact of this lockdown on the supply of homes. The current lockdown has already taken 8,000 homes out of supply this year. The extension of these restrictions will mean a further reduction in housing delivery by up to 800 homes a week.
“The impact of this decision will be seen in housing delivery for years. It will erode the progress that so many have worked tirelessly for.”
Mr Benson described the restrictions on private home building as disproportionate, saying they “further exacerbate the disadvantage of average income earners and create the risk of many losing mortgage approvals and a prolonged period in rental accommodation.”
The IHBA is urging the Government to develop a plan which will see private home building restored in full before April 5th and allow for a phased re-opening of the sector so private homebuilders can finish private homes near completion.