Business organisation DublinTown has today published an action plan to support the reopening Dublin's city centre. 

As part of its plan, DublinTown has called for a national working group to address the financial burdens business now faces as it recovers. 

It said that members are looking to play their part in the recovery and to offer benefit directly to customers and employees. 

But it said that overheads will inevitably rise in the months ahead due to the implications of navigating restrictions and a system of burden sharing based on gross profits to enable businesses to reduce overhead costs should be put in place.

CEO of DublinTown, Richard Guiney, said that as social distancing limits the number of people in a premises at any one time, businesses will potentially operate at a maximum of 45% capacity, which will limit their viability due to their current cost bases. 

He said that businesses will require outdoor space, for seating and queuing, to assist in meeting overhead costs. 

"While Government support to date is welcome, not addressing overhead costs will result in customer-facing businesses folding, and much of the €6.5 billion in support provided by the Government will be lost," Richard Guiney said. 

"Placing excessive debt on the shoulders of SMEs will result in zombie businesses that are unable to perform or invest in the future. Supports in terms of grants, reduction to interest only loans, and liquidity measures would be required within the business chain, so that additional pressure is not placed on our social welfare," he advised.

Today's plan also provides a framework for a phased controlled reopening of the city centre.

It follows direct consultation with DublinTown members and examines the current and predicted challenges faced as they reopen and ensure the safety of their customers in tandem with an economic restart. 

The business organisation noted that 67% of people use public transport to access the city but due to the physical distancing measures needed to stem the coronavirus, that capacity will be capped. 

It predicted that about 150,000 people a day will be unable to access that mode of transport.

"We need a practical debate that focuses on what can be achieved by maximising current resources. We need to invest in pedestrian and cycle infrastructure, allow for e-bikes and e-scooters, stagger business opening times, and maintain car access to the city," Richard Guiney said. 

He also said that pedestrianisation of certain streets is required to allow businesses to re-open.

DublinTown's 2,500 members are based between Parnell Street to the north of the city to St Stephen's Green to the south.