The reopening of the country and the economy has been happening gradually over June and I look forward to further reopening in July and beyond. Tourism accommodation and outdoor dining, tourism attractions and activities have reopened and, subject to satisfactory progress with the health situation, more indoor activities will reopen in July.
The Government has supported businesses through the closure in particular with initiatives such as the Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS, employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS and the Fáilte Ireland tourism business continuity scheme and is now assisting them in their reopening. While CRSS and the tourism business continuity scheme have addressed fixed costs, the EWSS has been crucial in maintaining employment and the link between employer and employee.
Its continuation was one of the key asks of the sector and the Government has committed to its maintenance until the end of 2021 in the economic recovery plan. I know the reopening is very welcome but I also know it brings a number of challenges, especially in reconnecting with employees.
Tourism brings employment to many parts of the country that have limited alternative job opportunities. That said, I am aware of the reports of difficulties in rehiring workers. After such a long period of closure it is not surprising there are difficulties restarting, especially if workers have moved location or taken up other employment. I also understand the caution some employees may feel about their safety, as well as concern about potential future closures.
That is why the Government has taken a cautious and staggered approach to reopening to, as far as possible, avoid backward steps. Thankfully, building on the high uptake in vaccination, we are still on track to deliver our plans for July and I hope this will give people confidence to return to work.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism and hospitality accounted for approximately 260,000 jobs and Fáilte Ireland was very active in the issue of skills development in the sector. The tourism recovery task force made a number of recommendations to enhance sustainable employment in the tourism sector to support both its survival and recovery. This includes the development of a national tourism education gateway as a one-stop shop to education for all tourism employees. My Department is working closely with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to progress these recommendations.
As the Deputy may be aware, labour law and workplace conditions are a matter for my colleague, An Tánaiste, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.