Concerns over impact of new restrictions on Dublin business

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The CEO of DublinTown, the group representing businesses in the capital city, has warned that any new restrictions will have a negative impact on business.

Dublin needs to focus on COVID-19 transmission in people’s homes, rather than in business.

That’s according to business group DublinTown, which says restrictions on the city are not the answer. Richard Guiney told Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing that any time there is a suggestion of restrictions there was an immediate impact on footfall. If Dublin moves to Level 3, as is anticipated, this will mean a further reduction in footfall and hospitality is suffering the most, he said.

Mr Guiney pointed out that the increase in levels of the virus was because of activities in people’s homes which was where efforts needed to be concentrated, he said.

“So we would expect that as we enter level three, which I think is going to happen based on all of the reports, we will see a further reduction in our footfall.

“The footfall primarily declines very sharply at about 6 o’clock in the evening, so it’s the hospitality businesses that are feeling it most.

“We know that something needs to be done, the virus incidence is increasing, but I suppose we’re saying let’s be strategic about this.

“We need an economy, we need a vibrant Dublin city centre to attract FDI in the longer term, and we need to sustain employment for after there is a resolution to COVID.

“So we need to be quite strategic – the virus is circulating in the suburbs, it’s circulating from people’s homes and I think that’s where we need to concentrate our efforts.

Messaging on public transport also needed to be examined. “Is the virus actually circulating on public transport?” he asked. There should also be a focus on young people, who, he said were perhaps not as aware of the implications, not just for themselves and their families, but also the economy.

“We need to look at those messages – nobody wants to bring people into an unsafe environment, but I think we need to be very strategic in terms of where we focus our energies in reducing the transmission.”