Dublin businesses ‘anxious and stressed’ over lack of updated guidelines – RAI

Adrian Cummins says restaurants not source of outbreak and businesses must remain open

Adrian Cummins: ‘You can’t just turn on and turn off a business every two weeks.’File photograph: Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Adrian Cummins: ‘You can’t just turn on and turn off a business every two weeks.’File photograph: Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said the lack of updated guidelines for Dublin businesses is causing “anxiety and stress”.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is meeting on Thursday to decide its advice to the Government on restrictions for Dublin to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Ministers and senior officials expect that a significant tightening of restrictions in the capital will be recommended, with Dublin likely to move at midnight on Friday from Level 2 to Level 3 on the Government’s five-level structure for managing the pandemic that was unveiled on Tuesday.

Level 3 of the plan says there would be “additional restrictions” for indoor dining at bars, cafes and restaurants, in addition to those already in place.

Chief executive of the RAI Adrian Cummins said they have not yet been told what the Level 3 “additional restrictions” would entail.

“We haven’t received any guidelines yet or criteria which is causing anxiety and stress on businesses, with all the indicators that Dublin will be moving to Level 3, according to media reports all day today and Cabinet meetings tomorrow, we definitely need these guidelines to know how we function as a business,” Mr Cummins told The Irish Times on Thursday.

“Do we tell staff not to come in or what do we do? Our view on this is very, very clear. Our doors need to be left open and we need to trade as normal as if we were in Level 2, because the rate of increase of infection is in households, not in restaurants.

“You can’t just turn on and turn off a business every two weeks or whatever.”

Mr Cummins said the RAI has no indication when the Level 3 additional restrictions will be outlined or published.

“There needs to be a more fast track approach to this. If they’re [the Government] talking about trying to keep the economy open and suppress the virus at the same time, you need to treat those in the economy equally the same as those suppressing the virus, communicating to us clearly, distinctly, as quickly as possible,” he added.

“They launched the plan on Tuesday, surely you would have had those guidelines done on Tuesday. We’re now at Thursday. We are not the source of the infection, we are not the source of the spread, the source of the spread is households but we feel we are going to be penalised for the actions of households.”