Following consultation with the CEO Network earlier this week, Chambers Ireland generated a list of key priorities for the successful and sustainable re-opening of Ireland’s economy.
CEO, Chambers Ireland, Ian Talbot said, “First and foremost, the priority for our members is that the reopening be sustainable. We must not find ourselves in the same situation as last year where reopening too quickly was followed by a spike in infections and another lockdown. This outcome would be unacceptable to our members.”
Timelines for a Sustainable Reopening
A sustainable re-opening must be balanced with a strategy that gives businesses tangible information to work with. “Businesses that have been closed will need sufficient notice on when they can reopen to facilitate stock replenishment, any required staff recruitment, training provision and necessary adaptations.
Sustained Financial Support
Along with clarity on dates, our members urgently need certainty on financial supports. With existing extensions in place until June, vulnerable business must be given certainty on how long wage supports, grant aid, waivers and debt warehousing will be available for.
Being realistic, many businesses will require some degree of financial support for the remainder of this year. It is likely a Supplementary Budget, much like last year’s July Stimulus, will be necessary to give these guarantees. The sooner financial clarity can be given, the sooner vulnerable sectors can plan.
Support for Towns and Cities
Finally, Chambers Ireland called on Government to prioritise supports for urban centres. While elements of the vaccine roll out are beyond our control, the reopening of our shared urban space is within our power.
Said Ian Talbot,”While we welcome measures announced to date, including financial grants and relaxed regulations for outdoor dining, we need significantly more coordination and ambition.
There continues to be too much inconsistency across the country with respect to the pace of activity. This inconsistency will only hurt local economies. We call on elected members and Local Authority officials to work together and prioritise projects that support dwell time, inclusive urban spaces, pedestrianisation and the evening economy. Without this, we risk a two-tier recovery, exacerbating the impact of the pandemic for the places left behind.”