Rachel Woods MLA has called for support to be provided to the hospitality sector this winter as businesses start to feel the effects of the Omicron variant.
The Green Party NI MLA for North Down said: “I have been contacted by numerous businesses in my constituency which are facing severe difficulties as a result of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The weekend before Christmas is usually the busiest time of the year for our hospitality sector, but this year, many of our bars and restaurants have experienced a significant decline in business this week.
“With more and more staff having to self-isolate, some businesses are struggling to stay open, especially with the additional staffing requirements the covid certification scheme involves. I support calls for the UK Government to reintroduce furlough provision, to ensure that there is at least some protection for workers available for following public health advice and self-isolating when necessary. The Executive must introduce support for staff and businesses affected by regulations and restrictions.
“Communication from Ministers over recent weeks has been abysmal, and has resulted in widespread confusion. There has been a lack of clear public health messaging, and limited press conferences. It is disgraceful that Stormont’s Ad Hoc Committee on Covid-19 not met in 8 months, further limiting the ability to get detailed information on the Executive’s response. Our hospitality and arts sectors deserve better from this Executive.”
Media contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)