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    Latest Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport announcement regarding COVID-19 crisis

    Latest Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport announcement regarding COVID-19 crisis

    Today (12 March 2020), Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin sought the Government’s agreement for urgent assistance for the Tourism and Hospitality and Leisure sectors in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

    While the virus is still at the containment phase, the sectors are already facing unprecedented challenges as a result of widespread cancellations. Hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, tour operators, coach service providers and other businesses are experiencing shocking levels of cancellations and almost zero new bookings.

    Minister Ross said “Today, at a meeting with Minister Paschal Donohoe, we have sought the introduction of immediate measures to stabilise cash flow, liquidity and working capital for the businesses in our sector. We must minimise business closures and job losses and the best chance of achieving that is to minimise cash outflows from the businesses. This includes making significant reductions to VAT, local rates, water charges and other outgoings.”

    Minister Griffin said “COVID-19 for the Tourism industry is what ‘Foot and Mouth’ disease was for the Agriculture sector in 2001. I am acutely aware of the need for a robust and effective response from Government for the Tourism sector today, similar to the Government’s response 19 years ago. We have been monitoring the situation very closely over the last number of weeks and have developed a series of mitigating actions that must now be put in place.”

    At today’s meeting, Ministers Ross and Griffin sought payment holidays for businesses. Postponing payments to the Revenue, Banks and Local Authorities would act as a first step in stabilising the businesses until the crisis passes. They have also sought further Government support for the sector and have emphasised the need for urgency in order to protect businesses and to protect jobs. Minister Donohoe accepted the seriousness of the situation and the need for appropriate and urgent Government action. He expects the Government will announce several measures in the very near future.

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