Hotels given green light for reopening on 11th December 2020.
Following positive news from the NI Executive, the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) Chief Executive Janice Gault said: “The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation welcomes the news that hotels will be allowed to re-open on Friday 11th December after an extended period of closure.
“The industry looks forward to welcoming back guests over the Christmas period and hosting them in a regulated and controlled environment. The hotel industry will re-open in a responsible manner with the health of guests and staff to the fore.
“The sector has invested over £5m in measures to ensure compliance and are conscious of the trust placed in us by the NI Executive at this time.
“Hotels have supported staff taking on the costs associated with furlough with many increasing their debt burden with Government CBILS schemes.
“The hospitality and tourism sector in Northern Ireland have borrowed in the region of £200M since March.
“The majority of hotels intend to re-open on the 11th and the Federation will be working with government on communicating guidelines, explaining the measures that are required and ensuring that the public are aware of their role in helping to control the spread of the virus.”
Janice Gault added: “Christmas is a vital trading period for the hotel industry with many guests checking in with their families over the festive season.
“This year will be different, but hotels are determined that those who arrive will have an excellent experience after what has been a very difficult year for everyone.
“Hoteliers will be encouraging guests to dine, stay and enjoy their visits. It is vital that we maintain the vigilance over the coming week before hotels unlock and that as a society we behave in a responsible and considerate manner.”
In the coming days, the details of re-opening will be confirmed along with the guidelines. “The industry will work with government to ensure that it can continue to trade over the coming weeks and hopefully well into 2021.
“The news of a viable vaccine has given hope globally and is welcomed by the hoteliers who have had a rollercoaster year with over twenty-two weeks of closure.
“It is hoped that the hospitality and tourism sectors worldwide will have the opportunity to return to a normal trading pattern once vaccination has been fully rolled out.
“The hotel sector is keen to play a positive role in the restoration of the Northern Ireland economy and society as a whole”, added Janice Gault.