Ireland announces curfew and return to home-working as Covid cases rise

Nightlife sector calls for government support to be reintroduced

Emily Atkinson
Wednesday 17 November 2021 00:29
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<p>Ireland said on November 16, 2021, it was asking people to work from home again while expanding its Covid-19 vaccination booster programme.</p>

Ireland said on November 16, 2021, it was asking people to work from home again while expanding its Covid-19 vaccination booster programme.

The Irish government has announced a midnight curfew on nightlife and signalled a return to home-working amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The government says pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Ireland will have a midnight closing time from Thursday.

People will also be urged to work from home, if they can, from Friday.

Minister for social protection Heather Humphreys said on Tuesday: “This isn’t like a previous lockdown where the entirety of the economy is closed.

“This is a curfew, not closure.”

She said that the hospitality industry would still require staff, despite the new measures.

Despite Ms Humphreys saying that the industry would still require staff, the new measures have raised concerns among those working within the sector.

Representatives warned the government on Tuesday that extra support will be necessary in the coming weeks - saying it is vital that their “livelihoods are protected too.”

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) have urged officials to reintroduce Covid support for the late-night sector

Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said: “We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated we would be able to get back to trading.

“Well, we waited and that wasn’t enough.”

The Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland have already seen gigs cancelled in the wake of the new midnight curfew.

“We fully understand the need for measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, to protect the public and our health system, but it is vital that livelihoods are protected too,” said spokesman Matt McGranaghan.

He said that the pandemic unemployment payment needed to be reintroduced.

“Workers in this industry are now in the worst place they have been since March 2020,” he added.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told RTE: “I am opposed to the whole approach that this Government has taken.

“I’m opposed to dithering and delaying and mixed messages and confusion and what I want to see at this stage is the public health rationale for these decisions.

“What we’ve had is a Government that seems incapable at this stage of planning a way forward and taking decisive action.

“To say to nightclubs that they have to close at 12am, when nightclubs open at 12am, is kind of farcical.”

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