Multinational workers consider hotel quarantine to be discriminatory

Facebook boss says rules have created difficulties

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans to reopen travel. Photograph: iStock

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans to reopen travel. Photograph: iStock

 

Multinational workers believe the Republic’s Covid-19 hotel quarantine discriminates against them, says Facebook chief, Gareth Lambe, whose company employs 6,000 people here.

Controversial laws forcing visitors from the US, several EU countries and other nations to quarantine in hotels came under increasing fire this week as the Government’s stringent travel regime continued to take its toll on aviation.

Mr Lambe, president of the influential American Chamber Ireland, told the organisation’s global conference that the quarantine rule created difficulties for companies such as Facebook, which have a lot of international workers.

“They felt it was excessive and even a little bit discriminatory,” Mr Lambe remarked during a discussion at the virtual conference, which drew an international audience.

He stressed that the Government needs to set out a “clear roadmap” to enable international travel to re-open following 14 months of restrictions.

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans to reopen travel amid fears that restrictions such as the hotel quarantine would cause the Republic to miss out on aviation’s recovery.

Challenging

Eurocontrol, the umbrella organisation for European air traffic control authorities, said on Friday that aviation’s situation remained challenging, but predicted that flights would likely to reach 5.5 million this year, half what they were in 2019.

The organisation predicted that traffic would return to 2019 levels by 2024 at the earliest, assuming widespread vaccination take-up and co-ordinated easing of restrictions this summer.

Eamon Brennan, Eurocontrol director general, predicted that regions would co-ordinate their lifting of restrictions in the first three months of next year, allowing more long-haul flights.