Responding to the publication of the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD called on the Government to publish a clear plan for businesses to prepare for transition between Levels.

Deputy Murphy said:

“At a time when we needed very clear political leadership and messaging we’ve got inconsistent approaches to the measures that support businesses and communities facing restrictions.

“If additional measures short of a full business lockdown are suitable for Dublin with worryingly rising rates of Covid-19, why was that not tried in Kildare, Laois or Offaly? The inconsistency in Government approaches is very concerning.

“There’s little clarity for many businesses. For example, in the newly announced plan, wet pubs are open in some capacity at every stage from Level 1 to Level 5, with Level 5 as takeaway and delivery. Yet wet pubs in Dublin are going to be completely shut at ‘level 2.5’. It is really difficult for businesses to plan ahead without clear and concise information.

“It is welcome that entry to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is to remain open until the end of the year and illness benefit is extended to March 2021; but that’s not enough. Given that we are likely to have to live with Covid-19 well into next year it’s essential that people know there’s a robust safety net there, should they lose their livelihoods. However, there is no mention of the level of PUP payment – this has to be reconsidered by Government.

“Businesses generally are going to have to wait until the Budget and the publication of the National Economic Plan in order to get clarity on what other supports will be available to them through this next phase of coping with Covid-19. It’s next to impossible for crucial retail, hospitality and services sectors to keep going without knowing what additional targeted supports will kick in immediately as counties or the country moves between Levels.

“This plan today does not provide the clarity that very many businesses need. “

15th September 2020

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