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Support urged amid warning 120,000 jobs at risk in restaurant sector

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has outlined immediate support it says is needed to help its members.

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More than 90% of restaurants are closed (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 90% of restaurants are closed (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 90% of restaurants are closed (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has warned 120,000 jobs are at risk in the sector in the months ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With more than 90% of restaurants currently closed since restrictions were announced in March, it has launched a nine-point recovery plan for the Irish restaurant sector.

The association said immediate support is needed to help its members.

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins said: “Our plan, which is the only viable solution for restaurants, is on the desks of ministers and departments.

“We are seeking urgent action to save and recover our industry, as nine out of 10 restaurants face permanent closure in the months ahead without urgent action.”

Mr Cummins said there should be a 0% VAT rate for tourism and hospitality for the period of the crisis, and for 12 months thereafter.

The measures the RAI is calling for include:

– Waiver of licences for outdoor tables and chairs for one year to enable businesses to reopen and adapt to social distancing using outdoor spaces

– A ban on utility providers cutting off services and demanding payments when businesses are closed. Review of standing charges for closure period

– No banking fees for hospitality until a vaccine is found.

It also said a package of measures from the Department of Business should be put together to cover outgoings in the first six months following the return of normal trading.

PA