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Businesses expressed concern about recommendation of NPHET to move the nation to level 5 restrictions

Business leaders have voiced serious concern about the introduction of Level 5 restrictions in Ireland.

In light of the growing COVID cases in the country, the National Public Health Emergency Team called on the government yesterday for a complete lockdown. Leaders expressed concern as this could lead to serious loss to the business sector.

Danny McCoy, the chief executive of the employers’ group Ibec, said that if the government is planning for such a strategy, they should immediately implement an equally comprehensive subsidy scheme to support firms.

McCoy said Irish firms had been closed for six months due to COVID and were now forced to close again due to extreme restrictions.

He added that we are getting vague and changing criteria and that a team of senior government officials should investigate, review and publish the evidence underlying the NPHET’s recommendations.

“Since the levels were introduced we have been asking for clarity about the support measures that would go with each level, so this is now critical,” Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, in line with Danny McCoy’s opinion.

Chambers Ireland said the scope of the recommendation was surprising and that the cabinet should consider it very carefully.

Duncan Graham, Chief Executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said retailers would be hardest hit by such a regulation at such a crucial time of year.

Various restrictions have been in place across the country since March. Since then, retailers have complied with government requests. Duncan added that if a lockdown were to happen again, it would have a serious impact on them, and many would not recover from it.

Irish pubs were closed following the COVID outbreak in March. Six months later, on the 21st of last month, they were allowed to reopen. “This news will send a shock wave through our membership,” said the Vintners Federation of Ireland.

Nobody expected the country to switch from Level 2 restrictions to Level 5 restrictions. “What’s the point of the Living with Covid plan if we are allowed lurch so violently to the highest level?,” Vintners Federation raised the question.

The federation added that there are several counties that are under virus control and they should be allowed to stay in Level 2.

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