All eyes await the government announcement regarding relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions, with both the aviation and hospitality sectors seeking clarity on restarting their industries.
On Monday, The Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) called on the government to implement the widespread use of rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 in a bid to get the sector up and running again.
The association, which was holding its annual general meeting on Monday, also urged the government to adopt the new Digital Green Certificate, which is set to be introduced next month, as soon as possible.
The system, which would allow citizen within the EU to travel freely across the region, provided they produce a negative test or have been fully vaccinated, is expected to be adopted by member states by the 26th June. However, it is anticipated that Ireland may not adopt it until the end of the July, at the earliest.
The certificate could allow for the resumption of international travel and sun holidays for many citizens within member states. However, for IALPA, which represents 1,200 Irish based pilots, the hesitancy of such implementation creates more problems, with many of the pilots left without work while the restriction on international travel continues.
Speaking at the conference, President of the association, Captain Evan Cullen, said ‘Ireland should be a leader and not an outlier’ regarding the certificate.
Cullen added, ‘Fully vaccinated travellers from the United States should be welcomed into Ireland from today. Thereafter, a framework similar, if not identical, to the proposed EU Digital Green Certificate should be applied to all travellers from the United States.’
Elsewhere, the Vintners' Federation of Ireland urged the government to allow all publicans to open no later than the first week of July. With the resumption of indoor dinning and drinking in Northern Ireland this week, the Federation chief executive, Padraig Cribben cautioned, ‘We can't have a two-tier pub sector on the island for longer than a couple of weeks as already people are crossing the border to socialise’.
He continued, ‘As we remain on course to have the vast majority of the population receive their first vaccination by the end of June, it follows that a full reopening of pubs should then be permitted.’
The Taoiseach promised that clarity will be given to these sectors, with a comprehensive statement due on Friday, but warned people against calling for a fast reopening. Mr Martin said that the Government will approach the reopening with a mindset of ‘steady as we go’, adding that people need to ‘hold it’.
Fáilte Ireland is set to publish guidelines for the sector which may give clarity on hospitality. It is reported that the measures may include a return to a time limit on indoor dining and tables one metre apart, however both sectors will have to wait until Friday to hear more from the government. NPHET will brief the Covid subcommittee before the full cabinet meeting set to take place on Friday, followed by the Taoiseach briefing the nation on Friday evening.