LETS TAKE THIS OUTSIDE SAYS HU AS NI EXECUTIVE STAYS SILENT ON REOPENING OF HOSPITALITY SECTOR
09 June 2020
The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland has heaped further pressure on the NI Executive this week on the need to allow for outdoor trading for pubs and restaurants after it failed to come to any decision on the re-opening of the sector at its most recent meeting on Monday.
The call for a creative response to the devastating situation faced by the hospitality sector has been sounded loudly by Hospitality Ulster who says that time is running out and that we can’t let the days go past and do nothing about the drastic place it has found itself in due to Covid-19.
The hospitality sector received a body blow earlier this week as the green light was given to large retail to re-open with smaller retailers from this Friday with zero mention of pubs and restaurants. This has been compounded by the progression of plans in the Republic of Ireland moving forward and getting back to business quickly. Many have been left wondering why, and what different information, is holding back the decision in Northern Ireland to get on with it, despite no recorded instances of the virus detected for several days now.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“The industry is ready to get back to business in a safe and responsible way. Livelihoods and jobs are at stake. Many are keen to seize the initiative and bring a creative approach in their fight for survival. With support from government and innovative thinking from businesses and local authorities, many could reopen and at least be sustainable until restrictions are reduced.”
“The drive to adapt and ‘take it outside’ means that the concerns around social distancing are largely taken care of as people can spread out, and all and every health and safety precaution can be implemented. We have so many vast unused open spaces at the minute as people largely remain at home, so we need our elected representatives and the Executive to get its act together and save the summer – one of the busiest trading periods of the year.”
“Many pubs and restaurant owners are looking at spaces they have at their disposal and close by their premises, creating parklets or bespoke outdoor seating areas such as those see in other European cities. We are so far behind in this despite the wealth the industry generates for the economy.”
“We still have had nothing out of the Executive, we are still largely in the dark, yet Ministers always talk about hospitality and tourism being one of the most important sectors here. We welcome the opening of retail stores, but the hospitality sector also plays a vital role in both our social and community lives, addressing loneliness and providing a space for communities to meet, especially at these difficult times.”