There is currently “no ambition” for further Covid-19 restrictions according to Arts and Culture minister Catherine Martin.
peaking to TDs and Senators this afternoon, she said she was not able to give a “definitive response” as to whether or not theatres, venues, arts venues, museums, galleries, might close down again.
She was asked by Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin and Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne about whether the sector can be re-assured that there will be no further closures.
“I can’t give a definitive response, as I said earlier to Deputy Griffin, on the pandemic, or the twists and turns it will take, nor is there any ambition to impose any further restrictions at present,” she told Mr Byrne.
“We have to wait and assess the impact of the changes introduced last week and then consistent messaging around individual behaviour.”
Her comments come as another 3,893 cases of Covid-19 were reported today.
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As of 8am today, there were 611 patients with the virus in hospitals, of whom 132 are being treated in ICU.
Ms Martin told TDs and senators that the Government will not be “found wanting” in relation to Covid-19 supports for businesses.
The Government has spent around €18bn on business and unemployment supports, the Arts and Culture committee heard.
Ms Martin said that so far, the Government has spent €8.9bn on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and a “similar” amount on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).
She added that €25m was allocated for the live entertainment sector in Budget 2022 which will “continue to protect jobs”.
Meanwhile, the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party will tonight hear a motion from TDs John Lahart and senators Ollie Crowe and Pat Casey requesting a meeting for the hospitality sector with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and other relevant ministers.
The motion will also call for “immediate financial supports” to be put in place to “support the sector and maintained until all restrictions are lifted” including the EWSS, a “revamped” Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), continuation of the commercial rates waiver and the extension of the option to “warehouse tax liabilities”.
In a meeting with Fianna Fáil TDs and senators this afternoon, representatives from the hospitality sector said they are keen to discuss the extension of Covid-19 supports for the industry with the Taoiseach and the Mr McGrath.
It is understood that the meeting also heard calls for a review of messaging and the long-term plan of living alongside Covid-19.
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