Neil McDonnell, the chief executive of ISME, today has welcomed the expected news that non-essential business can re-open on December 1.

Mr McDonnell said that not allowing restaurants and gastro pubs to open at the same time will cause problems for smaller retailers, who do not have toilets on premises to cater for the public demand. 

He said there needs to be "a much more aggressive approach to testing and rapid testing" to go beyond just re-opening the economy or reducing restrictions to lower levels to avoid going in and out of lockdown

"If we do not adopt a proper suite of control measures it will lead to a yo-yo into lockdowns which is not good enough," the ISME boss said.

He said that the NPHET is "acting like a toolbox with only a hammer in it - it does not just flatten the curve but flattens jobs, income and society".

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Meanwhile, Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy has said that a sensible society should be able to provide the facilities for people to congregate, after which it is up to individuals to take personal responsibility for their behaviours. 

Danny McCoy said that people are going to congregate over the festive season and that the infrastructure of retail, pubs and restaurants should be used to facilitate this. 

He said it is not the virus closing down livelihoods, but a Government decision on the advice of NPHET.  

The faster that restrictions are released the better, he said, which will allocate enough time and space for businesses to operate effectively. 

Mr McCoy said that pubs have been treated unfairly by the Government and that people should be allowed to make a living.

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"Time matters now", the Ibec boss said, and he questioned why the Government decision could not have been announced sooner.