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Half of restaurants face permanent closure due to pandemic, says RAI

Half of restaurants face permanent closure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the lobby group which represents the industry. 

The Restaurants Association of Ireland will tomorrow call for the VAT reduction from 13.5% to 9%, which was introduced late last year, to remain in place until 2025. 

It will also demand that the waiver on commercial rates paid to local authorities remain in place for the rest of this year. 

CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins will tell members of the Joint Committee on Tourism that existing supports “do not go far enough”.

He will say that the Covid Recovery Support Scheme must be extended to include Level 3 restrictions and the rate must be doubled to cover fixed costs. 

“Businesses previously excluded due to lack of a fixed premises such as contract caterers must be included in financial supports going forward,” he says in an opening statement to the Committee. 

Mr Cummins will tell politicians that restaurants have had “little to no payment by insurance companies on business interruption claims”. 

He will say that landlords have been seeking full rents for the period of closure and utilities providers have been disconnecting services to restaurants and hospitality businesses. 

The organisation estimates that the restaurant sector contributes over €3 billion to the Irish economy annually.

Separately, the Irish Hotels Federation will also tell politicians at the committee that banks need to be allowed to give businesses moratoriums on repayment of loans. 

It will also request that employees in the hotel sector be allowed to defer mortgage payments. 

In an opening address to the committee the federation will say: “Some businesses will require recapitalisation when the pandemic is over. 

“We suggest that consideration be given to providing equity and debt finance incentives to see our industry into full recovery.”

The federation says revenue across the hotels sector fell by more than €2.5 billion last year – a drop of 60%.

It says the immediate outlook remains exceptionally challenging this year.

Article Source – Half of restaurants face permanent closure due to pandemic, says RAI – RTE – David Murphy

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