Northern Ireland's beleaguered hospitality sector has published a 12-point plan for recovery as it faces potential losses of £1.1bn and almost 16,000 jobs.
The hospitality industry's Covid-19 Response Group yesterday released its 'Road to Recovery' report containing the plan to reopen and rebuild the sector when the time is right.
The report also highlights the potential loss of £1.1bn in turnover and 15,800 jobs this year due to the coronavirus pandemic - a catastrophic loss compared to its pre-Covid-19 days with a turnover of around £2bn sustaining 65,000 jobs.
Response group chairman Brian Murphy, managing partner of BDO NI, said the report was a plan "to enable the industry to get back on its feet".
"These are incredibly difficult times for many business sectors, but the hospitality industry, which was one of the first to close, is undoubtedly the hardest impacted and will most likely be the hardest to rebuild," Mr Murphy said,
"However, there is a clear desire within the industry to reopen and rebuild - but that will require an ongoing partnership with Government.
"The industry will require ongoing Government support to ensure that the many thousands of jobs are preserved and that the reopening of the sector can act as a catalyst for the recovery throughout the economy."
In a joint statement Janice Gault, CEO of the NI Hotels Federation, and Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster, said they hoped that today's expected announcement of the Stormont Executive's road map to recovery would include a date for reopening hospitality businesses.
"The path towards reopening should be underpinned with sound scientific data and the wellbeing of staff and customers to the fore," they said.
"A framework around which businesses can reopen that gives the sector the ability to adapt the operating procedures, review the fiscal impact on trading and assess the viability of business going forward.
"Any decision to reopen should be based on how safe the business is, and how we can ensure it is sustainable under social distancing rules, and not based on what they sell or how large they are."