Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of ISME said: “Casting public doubt around reopening when so many of our hospitality business are flatlining, is serious and damaging. The expected reopening date is fast approaching, and business owners and their employees need clarity as to whether they can reopen their doors on the 5th July. This doubt will cause thousands of workers to reassess their plans to come off the PUP payment and return to work.
While the Delta variant is undoubtedly a concern, the ‘a la carte’ approach to the science of our Public Health approach needs to be reviewed. This comes at a time when NPHET is refusing to implement international best practice on mass testing, including rapid antigen testing (RADT). ISME has engaged with Government and pushed for the widespread rollout out of RADT, which would safely support the reopening of our business and workplaces.”
Referencing international examples, Neil McDonnell continued: “Despite the fact that Ireland’s vaccination program is advancing faster than Denmark’s, their economy has reopened at a faster rate due to the introduction of mass testing. The longer the Government waits before taking executive control of the reopening of our economy, the greater and more expensive will be the economic damage. Sticking to the planned reopening on 5th July may indeed increase Covid-19 case numbers and hospitalisations, but this must be weighed against the grave toll in lost jobs, lost incomes, lost businesses, lost hope and lost lives that NPHET’s lockdown-and-vaccination only strategy is inflicting on society.”