Businesses that will be strongly affected by the move to Level 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid have been reacting to the Government’s decision.
The Government has decided that as of midnight on Wednesday, October 21 all of Ireland will be placed on Level 5 with a small number of exceptions.
“This action is based on current public health advice, the deteriorating situation with the disease across the country and the Government’s objectives to support families by keeping schools and childcare facilities open, maintaining non Covid health services and protecting the vulnerable,” the Government said.
Level 5 restrictions will remain in place for a period of six a weeks and mean people will be asked to work from home unless providing an essential service.
Among the other recommendations are:
People will be permitted to exercise within a radius of 5 km of their home.
There will be a penalty for movement outside 5km of home, with exemptions to this for essential work and essential purposes
In line with current NPHET advice in respect of Level 5, schools, early learning and childcare services will continue to remain open and are deemed essential.
DublinTown, the organisation that represents 2,500 businesses in Dublin City Centre, expressed the unanimous dismay of its members at the Government decision.
“Many members were already finding it difficult to keep their doors open but their fate may now be sealed by denying them the opportunity to trade at a time when they would generally do one-third of their annual sales,” they said. “This certainly will mean job losses.
DublinTown expects a significant level of business closures to ensue. As the number of empty shops rise, viable neighbouring businesses become vulnerable as the city loses its appeal.
“We know from the O’ Connell Street experience that it may take decades to recover from this and the demise of districts within the city may prove permanent. If they are lucky, members will be granted three weeks Christmas trading, but with physical distancing on the streets and in store, trade will be restricted during that time.
“Similarly, restaurants and cafes doing their part to fight the virus will suffer capacity constraints limiting their ability to benefit from the usual Christmas trade. In these circumstances, it is difficult to see how many city centre businesses will be able to survive into 2021.