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Restaurants plead for help as cancellations soar due to coronavirus

By Darragh Murphy

March 6, 2020 at 2:57pm

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The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has asked for immediate business supports to be put in place following a surge in cancellations due to customers' concerns over coronavirus.

Responding to a forecast from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which predicts a scenario in which COVID-19 plunges the world economy into its worst downturn since the global financial crisis, the RAI has requested assistance from the government..

Anticipating a potential recession situation, the RAI has asked for an immediate reduction of the VAT rate to nine per cent for Tourism and Hospitality businesses for a minimum of six months.

The RAI is also asking for Irish banks to defer loan repayments for at least six months, a moratorium on VAT payments to be introduced by Revenue and employer PRSI to be halved.

"Decisive action needs to be taken immediately," said Adrian Cummins, RAI CEO.

"My members need to know that the government supports them in this crisis and that the survival of Irish businesses is a top priority.

"Restaurants and small hospitality businesses across the country have seen a jump in cancellations over the last couple of weeks. With restaurants, a cancellation is often non deferrable due to the time sensitive nature of meals and special occasions.

"What we’re hearing from our members is that they are experiencing 80 per cent corporate booking cancellations due to COVID-19."

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