Ireland Active, the national association for the leisure, health and fitness sector, has welcomed the news of improved measures for supporting business as part of the July Stimulus package.
The extension of the wage subsidy scheme, rates exemption extension, improved restart grants, low cost loans and warehoused tax liabilities were all called for in Ireland Active’s submission to Government earlier this month. However, the trade body believes that more will need to be done as part of the National Economic Recovery Plan in order to provide valuable support for the industry, including sector specific support measures such as tax rebates/vouchers and a VAT rate reduction to keep commercial sports facilities viable into the future.
The sector is estimated to have lost over €150m in revenue due to closures during COVID-19, and many facilities are now operating on less than 50 percent capacity due to social distancing measures.
Throughout the COVID-19 restrictions, commercial sports facilities have worked tirelessly and at great cost to ensure staff are trained in all Public Health protocols and that facilities are equipped and ready to welcome the public into a safe environment for exercise. Operators are ‘solutions focused’ by nature and have had to adapt to the new normal like many other businesses across the country by implementing social distancing measures and complying with the Ireland Active framework for safe operation which was approved by government. Through the dedicated following of these procedures and protocols, gym and pool operators nationwide are now providing a COVID-19 safe environment to protect the health and safety of members and employees.