New Roadmap must ensure there is dialogue with business

Chambers Ireland today (19 August 2020) calls for clearer, more regular engagement between Government and the business community with regard to COVID-19 restrictions. This includes the communication of new guidance and development of a new Roadmap.

Speaking today, Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The new restrictions announced last night, and over the past week, bring home the reality of what living alongside the virus will mean in the months to come. A significant second wave will do untold damage to our economy and to the health of our communities. We must do everything we can to avoid this.

However, if we are to successfully achieve this outcome, it will require collaboration and communication, so all stakeholders, including businesses, are clear on their obligations, and how to interpret any new restrictions.

Following the introduction of restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, we wrote to the Taoiseach, calling on him and his Government to work with Chambers in the dissemination of clear information on the implementation of new restrictions, how to interpret them and on the criteria that will determine when they will be eased.

In the absence of clear, reliable, and regular information, rumours are filling the gap. This causes uncertainty and confusion on the ground, which can impact compliance and undermine the effectiveness of new measures.

A process and framework, which is clearly communicated in advance, must be put in place as soon as possible so that we are more prepared to deal with any new outbreaks as they occur.

Concern is growing that new clusters and localised outbreaks in other parts of the country could be expected. If this risk is to be managed effectively, a clear protocol on managing these outbreaks is required.

We will also need to have better capacity in our testing and contact tracing, and this must be adequately funding. If this approach is to be effective, the right resources must be capable of deployment in all parts of the country as required.

Chambers Ireland and our members are willing to play our part in supporting Government in containing and reducing the incidence of COVID-19.

However, Government must improve how it plans for and communicates the way we manage and live alongside the virus in the months ahead. Without this, any chance we have of supporting an economic recovery will fail.”

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