Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the government to provide clarity to businesses as to what the Christmas trading period will look like.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said: “Businesses have been closed, or operating with severe restrictions, under Level 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19, for many weeks now.
“These same businesses have endured nearly a year of public health restrictions which have crippled their trading and reduced their trading opportunities.
“Indeed, the most recent Covid-19 public health restrictions have also caused a significant increase in the number of people temporarily laid off with the number of people not in work rising to over 20 percent.
“As noted, the situation, while necessary to protect public health, is creating intolerable difficulty for businesses and workers alike.
“It is necessary that the government keep businesses such as clothes and fashion retailers, pubs, restaurants, book and toy shops, and electronic goods shops informed about ongoing developments as we move through the Level 5 restrictions. They must have some clarity as to what trading for the Christmas period will look like.
“These businesses will have to roster staff, order stock, including perishable food and drink, introduce additional health and safety protections, and arrange opening and closing times, so it is essential that they know what trading will look like.
“Indeed, workers will also have to arrange their lives depending on what the festive period will look like.
“In normal times planning for Christmas takes place months in advance. Therefore, it is completely unfair, during a pandemic, to leave businesses in the dark regarding the nature of Christmas trading this year.
“The government, along with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, and the Minister for Health need to sit down with businesses representatives, and worker representatives in the Trade Union movement, and give them an idea as to what the Christmas period will look like this year.
“Only by doing this can businesses plan to operate in a safe and secure manner which protects workers and customers alike.”