As many as 33,000 of Dublin’s drinks and hospitality jobs jeopardised by latest Covid restrictions: DIGI

Young people are consuming considerably less sugary drinks than before
Young people are consuming considerably less sugary drinks than before

10,600 jobs could be lost among Dublin’s 15-24 age group, according to new report

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22 September 2020 | 0

Following Dublin’s effective return to lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, a new economic report shows that 33,000 of the capital’s accommodation and food service jobs*, which include jobs in drinks and hospitality businesses like pubs, hotels, and restaurants, could be lost by the end of the year without additional supports from government.

The report, commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) and carried out by DCU Business School economist Anthony Foley, entitled ‘Employment in the drinks and hospitality industry: the threat of Covid-19 to jobs and how to minimise it’shows that the 15-24 age group, which comprises nearly a third of all accommodation and foodservice employment in Dublin, is particularly exposed and could suffer 10,600 job losses before the end of 2020.

The report suggests that as many as 63% of all accommodation and food services jobs in Ireland, 114,000 in total, which includes jobs in pubs, restaurants, and hotels, could be lost by year’s end without further supports.This includes 36,300 jobs among the 15-24 age group.

Overall, 7.6% of all national employment is in accommodation and food services. 31.8% of all workers are in the 15-24 age group, and the majority of all employees are women (54.6%).

The industry’s current commercial environment is dire: restaurants are operating at approximately 60% capacity, pubs serving food at 50%, and hotels at 25%. These figures are unlikely to improve over Christmas and the winter period, states DIGI. Tourism is non-existent, and few social or cultural activities are permitted.

“Dublin’s lockdown, and further restrictions on restaurants and pubs serving food, will have grave material consequences for thousands of livelihoods, hundreds of businesses and local communities, and Ireland’s long-term economic prospects,” said Liam Reid, chair of DIGI.

“Every drinks and hospitality business owner in Dublin and across the country realises the public health risks associated with Covid,” he added. “They have supported the longest hospitality lockdown in Europe and where they have been able to open, they have taken steps to ensure their staff and customers are safe, and that their premises are controlled environments, and invested tens of thousands of euros doing so.

“If the 2008 crash showed us anything, it’s that what we lose now cannot be simply reconstructed next year,” Reid said. “If businesses cannot operate, jobs will go. This is a highly precarious industry, and every week of closure counts. The long-term risk is enormous, and a specific package of support measures is urgently required.”

Knock-on effects on the rest of Ireland

Lockdown in Dublin will have knock-on effects on drinks and hospitality businesses elsewhere in the country as domestic tourists from the capital cancel their bookings in regional hotels, restaurants, and pubs.

In the South-East region (Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford), accommodation and food service jobs make up 8.5% of all employment. In Donegal, accommodation and food service employment is nearly 8% of all county employment, and in Kerry the figure is as high as 10.5%.

“If these businesses close for good, many villages and towns will be left with little to no employment opportunities,” Reid said, emphasising that these are the businesses where many local young people in part-time employment “first start to develop skills and qualities that stand to them forever”.

Immediate additional remediation

DIGI is calling on the government to aid the drinks and hospitality industry by removing barriers to business and deliver a comprehensive and coordinated set of measures over the coming period to support their recovery.

The new report shows intervention in 2021 will be too late and jobs will be lost, DIGI adds, pointing out that  Ireland’s excise taxes are the second highest in Europe.

DIGI is therefore calling on the government to deliver a 15% reduction in excise tax on drinks to support the industry and minimise the risk of job losses, as part of a broad package of measures.

“More money back in the business owner’s pocket means more money can be directly invested in keeping their doors open and saving their staff from unemployment,” Reid said.


AT A GLANCE: REPORT FINDINGS

  • 10,600 jobs could be lost among Dublin’s 15-24 age group, according to a new economic report by DCU Business School economist Anthony Foley
  • As many as 114,000 total accommodation and food service jobs, including jobs in pubs, hotels, and restaurants, could be lost across the country by the end of 2020, including 36,300 jobs among the 15-24 age group
  • 6% of all national employment is in accommodation and food services, 31.8% of all workers are in the 15-24 age group, and the majority of all employees are women (54.6%)
  • DIGI chair: “We are calling on the government to deliver a package of support measures including a 15% reduction in excise tax on drinks to support the industry and minimise the risk of job losses.”

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