Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, has responded to the news that the Executive has agreed a further two weeks of lockdown from November 27, saying: “A reopening date is now irrelevant, it’s now about a rescue package!”.
This news will mean that those within the sector who can open from Friday, November 20, can only do so for one week before closing again. Those who have yet to reopen will now have to wait a further two weeks in addition to the previous circuit breaker lockdown.
In a statement written following the latest announcement, Mr Neill has written: “65,000 people in the hospitality industry are now looking to the Executive tonight to save their jobs and livelihoods. This is no longer about a date, this is now about a multi-million-pound emergency rescue package. The sector now faces disaster.
“All trust in the Executive by the hospitality sector has been wiped away. We were told that Christmas trading would be saved, that is now gone. There is a huge amount of anger right across the hospitality industry. We have been left with no trade, no hope and a huge amount of redundancies on our hands.”
“The government now has the ultimate responsibility for funding this extended enforced lockdown and not at some paltry level, but an actual financial package that proves that the Government wants to save jobs. So far we have had no indication that this is the case.”
“We now expect to meet with the Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser tomorrow for an urgent meeting with the hospitality industry steering group to start the process of working a way out of this awful situation.”