The Government order for all restaurants and cafés to limit their supply to take away and deliveries from midnight tonight, has been welcomed by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

It is asking all members and restaurants and cafés throughout the country to adhere to this decision. Public safety and stopping the spread of this pandemic must come first, the association said in a statement.

It is also calling for a "bespoke hospitality aid package" is also required for the industry.

"I fully welcome the Cabinet's decision today, as it is the best decision right now in the interest of the health of the nation, staff welfare and the safety of our customers," said Adrian Cummins, CEO of The Restaurants Association of Ireland.

"The fact is maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy restaurants and cafés is increasingly challenging and we must act in the interests of both our staff and our customers," he said.

Section 42 of the Bill will exempt restaurants from planning and allow them to operate takeaway service without having to seek permission.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland welcomes the government's announcement to increase the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Support payment for people who have been laid off due to the virus from €203 to €350. "We welcome that the payment will also apply to the self-employed affected by the virus," Mr Cummins said.

The association has concerns in relation to the announcement of the 70% top-up of workers salary to a cap of €410 per week. Small businesses must not be penalised due to cash flow difficulties. It is looking for further clarification regarding qualification i.e., demonstration of reduction in income of at least 25% and cash flow difficulties.  

The Irish Hotels Federation has welcomed Government's recognition of the role that hotels play in essential non-social and non-tourist services.

"Today’s announcement is very welcome but it is not nearly enough to safeguard the future of the tourism sector," said Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the IHF.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane, who runs The Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick, said revenues plummeted by up to 100% across the sector with a catastrophic impact on cash flow. 

"We are calling again on the Government to reduce the rates of tourism VAT and employer’s PRSI to zero until we see a recovery. In addition to our call for local authority rates to be waived, we are seeking direct business supports, including finance and marketing assistance.

"Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the financial crisis – too many jobs depend on the right decisions being made at the right time now," she said.