Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has described today’s announcement that sectors of the economy will not reopen in line with the planned roadmap as a major disappointment for workers and employers.
Deputy McDonald re-emphasised the need for caution and to be guided by public health advice. However she stated that the latest setback will increase anxieties in sectors, and additional recovery packages now need to be put in place.
Speaking today, Teachta McDonald said: “The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks is of great concern and serves as another reminder that the threat of this virus is very real and has not gone away.
“There is a responsibility on all of us to heed the public health advice. Great sacrifices have been made by all to get ahead of this virus to the point where we could start reopening the economy.
“With every step of reopening the economy comes risk, and we must exercise caution with every step we make.
“We cannot take excessive risks that threaten public health or delay important steps, such as plans to reopen schools.
“I welcome the announcement that face coverings will now be mandatory in shops and shopping centres.
“But this is now the second time pubs have had a false dawn. I completely understand the frustration that employers and employees in this sector feel.
“Many pub owners have spent considerable sums to ensure that they are compliant with social-distancing and hygiene guidelines in anticipation that they would be in a position to reopen next Monday.
“Sinn Féin has advocated an approach to the opening of this sector based on whether social distancing can be adhered to and measures put in place to ensure cleanliness and good hygiene, while regular checks be carried out to ensure guidelines are being adhered to.
“If the medical advice is that these alternative options are too risky than additional bespoke compensation and recovery packages need to be put in place.
“Public health is our number one priority but there needs to be greater consultation from state bodies with the sector as to the best way forward, or we risk losing businesses and jobs for good.”