Covid-19 puts 114,000 hospitality jobs at risk

21st September, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

As many as 114,000 jobs could be lost in Ireland’s hospitality industry without government support for the sector, according to a report published as lockdown measures are tightened once again in Dublin.

The report suggests 33,000 jobs could be lost in Dublin

According to a report commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), 65% of jobs in service industry venues in the country could be lost, including those in pubs, bars and restaurants.

The report suggests that as many as 114,000 accommodation and food services jobs in Ireland (which includes beverage service activities) are at risk, including 36,300 jobs among the 15-24 age group. According to DIGI, 7.6% of all national employment is in accommodation and food services.

The report comes as Dublin is placed into lockdown once again following a spike in coronavirus cases in the Irish capital. New rules in the city state that indoor drinking and dining is prohibited in bars and restaurants, and on-trade establishments may only offer takeaway services or outdoor seating for a maximum of 15 customers.

As Dublin returns to lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, DIGI reports that 33,000 of the capital’s hospitality jobs could be lost by the end of the year without additional support from the government.

Liam Reid, chair of DIGI, said: “Dublin’s lockdown, and further restrictions on restaurants and pubs serving food, will have grave material consequences for thousands of livelihoods, hundreds of businesses and local communities, and Ireland’s long-term economic prospects.

“Every drinks and hospitality business owner in Dublin and across the country realises the public health risks associated with Covid. They have supported the longest hospitality lockdown in Europe and where they have been able to open, they have taken steps to ensure their staff and customers are safe, and that their premises are controlled environments, and invested tens of thousands of euros doing so.

“If the 2008 crash showed us anything, it’s that what we lose now cannot be simply reconstructed next year. If businesses cannot operate, jobs will go. This is a highly precarious industry, and every week of closure counts. The long-term risk is enormous, and a specific package of support measures is urgently required.”

Reopening is not enough

As a result of the risk to employment and businesses across the Irish drinks sector, DIGI is calling on the Irish government to aid the drinks and hospitality industry by delivering “comprehensive and coordinated” measures to support the sector’s recovery.

“Reopening these businesses is not enough,” said Reid. “We have to focus on recovery, which means making it as easy as possible to actually do business within Covid guidelines. Ireland’s pubs, hotels, restaurants and wider drinks and hospitality industry need practical financial support this year. As this report shows, intervention in 2021 will be too late and jobs will be lost.

“Ireland’s excise taxes are the second highest in Europe and will act as a further barrier to recovery. As part of a broad package of measures we are calling on the government to deliver a 15% reduction in excise tax on drinks to support the industry and minimise the risk of job losses. More money back in the business owner’s pocket means more money can be directly invested in keeping their doors open and saving their staff from unemployment.”

The DIGI is calling for a 15% reduction in excise tax on drinks in order to support the industry and minimise the risk of job losses.

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