Cliff Taylor: Gradually reopening the economy in phased way for everyone seems off the table

Delay to hospitality brings knock-on burdens to economy and puts other returns in doubt

 The consequences of the decisions are significant. The winding down of Covid-19 supports will take longer and the economic damage will be greater. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/ RollingNews.ie

The consequences of the decisions are significant. The winding down of Covid-19 supports will take longer and the economic damage will be greater. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/ RollingNews.ie

Talk of the economy rebounding strongly over the summer will have to be put on hold. These predictions were based on reopening proceeding more or less as planned – and there is now a big question mark over the hospitality sector and other indoor gatherings. If this was just a two-week delay then, while awkward and difficult for the sector, it would have a limited wider impact. But now there is real uncertainty over when the sector might open for indoor dining – and under what circumstances, with knock-ons for all kinds of events and holiday plans.

The Government has been caught by surprise by the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) advice – and in turn Nphet is reacting to emerging international experience on the Delta variant, notably in the UK. Scotland, roughly the same size as Ireland and with close to half the population fully vaccinated, is now reporting a record 3,000-plus cases a day.

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