The household ban does not apply to traders

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Traders can continue to work in people’s homes under the new restrictions announced by the government last night.

Minister for Continuing Education and Higher Education Simon Harris said plumbers, electricians, builders, upholsterers and painters should take precautions when entering homes for work.

Speaking to Claire Byrne about RTÉ’s Today, he said homeowners should ventilate their home properly, wear a face mask, and keep their distance while the work goes on.

He also said business owners should show leadership and make it easier for their employees to work from home to stop the transmission of Covid-19.

Minister Harris said, “We were very good at working from home.” [at the start of the pandemic]but said he had noticed a lot more traffic on the streets lately.

He said employers need to protect their employees by allowing them to work from home where possible.

Mr Harris said the rule should be very simple: “If you can do your work from home, your employer should try to make it easier for you.”


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Later at TU Bolton Street, Minister Harris said it was hoped to educate and train an additional 50,000 people by 2020/21 and one of the key areas would be retrofitting.

He said funds are available to maintain the apprentice incentive program for an additional six months and that the government is establishing an educational disadvantage fund of € 8 million for the first time.

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Ibec criticizes the lack of consultation on level 4

Ibec employers’ group criticized the lack of consultation with the business sector prior to the announcement of level 4 restrictions in three counties.

However, the confirmation was welcomed that the definition of retail considered material under level 4 has been expanded and that construction can continue.

Under Level 4 restrictions in the three affected counties – Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan – only essential retail stores can be opened.

However, this list has been expanded to include stores that sell take-away groceries, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, hardware stores, and click-and-collect services at other retailers, where they are properly managed under public health guidelines can be.

Under level 4, physical participation in workplaces is only permitted for those who provide essential services that can only be performed personally. A full list of these services can also be found on the government website.

The government also reiterated that people in the rest of the country should only go to work when they cannot work from home.

Ibec said, however, that while companies understand that the need for incremental restraints may be justified, it is disappointing to find them again hit by them in such a short term.

Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, said that there should be a structured approach to soliciting input from companies before such decisions are made and that the ongoing lack of communication is extremely worrying.

Level 4 closes a blow for frontier businesses

Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence, said there are 10 weeks left before Christmas – the most important time of the year for retailers for sales and profits.

Mr Graham said restrictions at this time of year are devastating to industry in the border counties of Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, and could put up to 10,000 jobs at risk.

Up to 20% of the workforce in these countries is employed in retail, he added.

He said it was inevitable that the move will result in some companies having to shut down for good, despite the introduction of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) in this week’s budget.

“It doesn’t make sense for retailers in Northern Ireland” to act normally while some of those trading south of the border have to close, “said Graham.

“This move will only result in more shoppers going online to do their Christmas shopping,” he added.

“We have seen a huge surge in online shopping this year and 70% of the money made from online purchases goes out of the country,” he added.

“We urge customers in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to shop online to shop at their local Irish retailer and to use other services such as Click and Collect that should not be affected by these restrictions,” he added.

Additional coverage will be Goodbody

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