Restaurants think 'circuit-breaker lockdown' needed in order to save Christmas

By Rory Cashin

October 12, 2020 at 9:38am


'It could be game over for 50% of restaurant businesses around the country.'

Following the news of a record-high number of Covid cases in Ireland over the weekend, conversations have been turning to the potential need for the country, or parts of it, to ramp up the restrictions to Level 4 or 5.

Leo Varadkar stated that a 'short, hard lockdown' may be needed to curb the numbers, while Taoiseach Micháel Martin said that "If we all change our behaviours and work together we can make Level 3 work, protect lives and livelihoods, show that we can contain the virus and prevent its growth."

This shorter, 'circuit-breaker' lockdown now seemingly has the full support of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, who state that if businesses aren't open in time for the Christmas customers, then it could see wide-range shutdowns across the country.

Reacting to Varadkar's statement in the Sunday Independent over the weekend, in which he said a second lockdown may not be a short one, CEO of the RAI Adrian Cummins told Newstalk the following:

"Well if it's not a short one, then he obviously stating that it will be longer than a number of weeks. For our industry, it's critical and vital that our industry is open for Christmas from the first week of December right through. 30% of our income comes in at Christmas and if we're not open for Christmas, well it's game over for 50% of businesses right across the country."

"We are currently in a lockdown phase for restaurants and hospitality where all indoor dining is banned at the moment – so effectively our industry is at Level Four. What we are saying to the Government very clearly is give us the roadmap to opening our businesses for Christmas and save Christmas so we can give clarity to our customers and staff."

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