County Wexford Chamber today (29 June 2021) calls on Government to provide a high level of certainty to businesses, now facing a further delay to their reopening, as to when they can reopen. This includes the provision of clear timelines, certainty on supports and the principles guiding Government decision-making.
Speaking this afternoon, County Wexford Chamber Deputy CEO Emma Dunphy said,
“Employers understand that there is a balance to be struck between public and economic health and have been committed to maintaining this balance. Additionally, the vaccine rollout is showing significant promise. The gains to date have been hard-won by all of society and there is recognition that adjustments may have to be made to ensure the reopening is sustainable.
However, there is also an expectation among impacted businesses that certainty on timelines, financial supports and the rationale for a further delay will be clearly communicated. Businesses across Ireland have made significant investments in hiring staff, preparing a safe environment and purchasing stock in anticipation of the next phase of reopening. In such a fluid situation, timely provision of information is key.
This is not a moment for ambiguity. There is scepticism as to whether a short pause in reopening will be sufficient and this can cause deep anxiety among both employers and employees. Government must be realistic in setting out the path ahead, even if the news is not easy to hear in the short term. The alternative is further uncertainty and anxiety.
Given that Government has been able to rely on the support of business, it is important that we are made aware of the purpose and rationale guiding its decision-making. This is in the best interests of all parties. If there is a vaccination target Government is aiming to reach, this should be announced. If there are other factors, these must be shared.
It takes weeks to stock and staff these premises. Our member businesses may have to layoff newly-hired and newly-trained staff, offering them only more uncertainty regarding when their jobs will be available again. This is making retention of staff difficult and is causing skilled people to leave impacted sectors.
Previous dates for the winding down of financial supports to businesses and employees will likely need to change. These have provided a lifeline to those employers and staff impacted by public health restrictions. It is at this very moment that assurance on these must be provided.
Business has and continues to play its part in protecting public health and supporting our national recovery. To do this effectively, it is asking only for certainty – on timelines for the weeks ahead, on the supports that have ensured employees have jobs to return to, and on the reasoning behind restrictions. It is through this mutual respect that we will be able to overcome the latest challenges together.”