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Covid-19 spike limits hospitality trading in Derry and Strabane

Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster.

New restrictions have been placed on the hospitality sector in Derry and Strabane, after a spike in positive cases saw the area place among the highest Covid-19 rates in the UK.

Set to come into force next week, the restrictions will limit trade to takeaway, delivery and outdoor dining for pubs, cafes and restaurants with hotels only permitted to provide service to overnight guests. Additional restrictions relate to travel within and without the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

“This will come as a shock but no surprise to the hospitality sector in the North West who have experienced the worst impact of this for over six months now,” said Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster. “Public health and control of the coronavirus is the number one priority, but it will, without doubt, be a devasting blow to our sector at this critical time.

“The imposing of further restrictions on top of tight legally enforceable rules will mean closure for many as they won’t be able to meet the requirement, such as outside space, and with the weather getting colder, this will no longer be viable. Donegal placed at Level 3 status means that this entire North West area will effectively limp along.

“Our hospitality industry remains one of the safest on the island of Ireland and the UK and has not been identified as the cause of the virus increasing. But now that this lockdown has been enforced, there needs to be immediate and appropriate financial assistance directed to the hospitality sector in the Derry and Strabane Council area. We are calling for a meeting with the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, to look at what urgent measure can be brought forward.

“It is now time for everyone in our industry, our customers and the wider community to double down on their efforts to get the virus under control, curtail the spread, and ensure our industry reopens in two weeks’ time.”

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