RGDATA has made representations to Government not to relax mandatory face mask regulations for certain groups as this will create further problems for shop owners and their staff in dealing with anti-maskers. RGDATA has highlighted this issue to the Government following media reports that the mandatory face mask rules may be relaxed for people who have been vaccinated.
“RGDATA has made the case for maintaining the mandatory face mask regulations in place until they can be relaxed for all groups. Shop owners and their staff are already having difficulties dealing with aggressive, anti-maskers who claim to have an exemption but refuse to show any proof. Relaxing the rules with regard to those who have been vaccinated will further exacerbate these issues. We have urged the Government to continue to apply the mandatory mask regulation in shops until it can be relaxed for all customers,” says Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA.
Government sources have responded to RGDATA saying the guidance from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre is clear as follows:
1. Fully vaccinated asymptomatic people can visit other fully vaccinated asymptomatic people (from one other household only) in a household setting without wearing masks or physical distancing
2. Fully vaccinated persons should not visit a household setting where there are unvaccinated persons present.
3. Fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in all other settings, such as hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing a well-fitted mask where indicated. Fully vaccinated people must also continue to follow all other public health restrictions along with the rest of the population.
4. If a fully vaccinated person has any symptoms of COVID-19 they must not visit others, including vaccinated people. They must self-isolate and seek medical assessment and testing for COVID-19.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley will represent independent shops at the Retail Forum meeting chaired by Minister for Retail Damien English on Thursday 15 April.
RGDATA is currently finalising its submission on the reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) which is due on 17 April.
RGDATA has written to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar seeking a voice for SMEs on the working group that will review collective bargaining and the industrial relations landscape in Ireland and make proposals for reforms.
Professor Michael Doherty, Maynooth University has been appointed Chair and membership will include “senior representatives of union and employer sides nominated by ICTU and Ibec, Professor Bill Roche of UCD and officials from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment and the Department of the Taoiseach”.
The group will examine:
• Trade union recognition and the implication of same on the collective bargaining processes.
• Adequacy of the workplace relations framework supporting the conduct and determination of pay and conditions of employment.
• Reform of statutory wage setting mechanisms.
The group will report quarterly to the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. It will convene in mid-April with the aim of producing an interim report by the end of July 2021 and completing its work as soon as possible thereafter.
“The glaring omission from this group is representation from the SME sector,” RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley told the Tánaiste. “We urge you to balance this group and include representatives of SMEs. The programme for Government makes specific commitments regarding giving a stronger voice and representation to SMEs. However, here we have a very practical example of how SMEs are not at the table when important issues that will have a significant impact on their businesses are being considered.”
David Bagnell, Spar; Joe Barrett, Applegreen and Austin McGinley, Fresh were the focus of a Shop Talk Live session on 1/4/21 that was co-chaired by Aramark’s Frank Gleeson and Dan Mumford. Ireland was introduced as “one of the sexiest places for convenience and roadside retail” with entrepreneurial and innovative convenience retailers leading the way in adapting to the challenges posed by changing consumer habits and Covid-19.
Ireland and Japan are the two top countries pushing the boundaries and constantly evolving to deliver excellence and drive customer satisfaction. All were extremely positive about the future of convenience retail in Ireland despite the challenges posed by Covid 19.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has “noted the contents” of RGDATA’s appeal for essential retail and food logistics workers to be vaccinated with other frontline workers as soon as the most vulnerable groups have received their jabs.
A new age based Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy has now been agreed and will protect those at highest risk of severe disease first and will facilitate execution of the programme across the entire country in a transparent and fair way, according to the Minister.
The latest consultation on the design and regulatory framework for the DRS scheme promised in the Programme for Government launched on April 1. It invites views on the preferred DRS model and the legislative framework for delivery of the scheme.
RGDATA is a member of the DRS Subgroup and is monitoring the design of the scheme to ensure that it is effective, delivers on the recovery and recycling targets and that retailers are adequately compensated for the important role they play in delivering the scheme and are represented on the Body running the scheme.
RGDATA has welcomed the launch of the Government’s new vision for the future of rural Ireland saying it is vital that the promised Town Centre First policy is put at the centre of the new strategic plan to “sustain and build strong communities in all parts of Ireland”. RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley said: “Currently this is a very aspirational plan. RGDATA will review the entire plan and we will certainly be ensuring that the funding for the various elements is delivered in Budget 2022.”
The Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Rural Affairs and Minister for the Environment launched the plan in Croke Park yesterday (29/3/21). The Government promised a “ground up” approach to revitalising rural Ireland where almost 50% of the population reside in the countryside and Towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000.
RGDATA has made a number of submissions to Government on Town Centre regeneration and the need for repurposing of Towns and villages, the rollout of Collaborative Town Centre Health Checks, development of a collaborative approach to community building and funding for a central voice for Irish Towns.
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