Non-essential retailers have issued “three key demands” to Government ahead of a decision on how the country will emerge from lockdown.
Cabinet is meeting today to how the country will come out of six weeks of Level 5 restrictions.
Current restrictions, that include the closing of non-essential retailers, are set to come to an end on December 1 with retailers warning they “cannot afford” for the Government to get the big decisions wrong.
Representative group Retail Excellence has called for:
- The reopening date of non-essential retail to be brought forward to Monday, November 30 at the latest
- Easing of national restrictions to enable shoppers to cross county lines and to accommodate indoor dining in coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
- Retailers must be allowed to extend trading hours as needed for December.
Speaking today, Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence, said: “This is the most critical week of the year for retailers, and we simply cannot afford to get the big decisions wrong around reopening non-essential retail.
“In the first instance, we are demanding that the reopening date be brought forward to Monday, November 30 at the latest.
“Every day counts for the retail industry. Two days would not make a big difference to the pattern of the virus, but those two days could be a matter of survival for retailers who need every trading hour they can get in the run-up to Christmas.”
Mr Graham said if shoppers weren’t allowed to leave their county it would have a “hugely negative effect” on local businesses.
He continued: “At the same time, any level of restrictions above 2 would mean coffee shops and cafes could only facilitate outdoor dining for 15 people maximum, which would be devastating for businesses and act as a deterrent for shoppers in the coming weeks especially given the bad December weather.”
The retail chief added that it “makes sense” for stores to be open longer to meet Christmas demand.
He added: “Retailers have done everything they can to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19, and an extension of opening hours would mean they could effectively deal with customer demand for Christmas. It makes sense in every respect.”
Mr Graham also called for people to support local Irish businesses who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
“Now more than ever before, we need to think before we click and shop local. Irish businesses deserve our support after a year when many have been closed for up to 20 weeks, so now is the time to give something back.”
Source: Dublin News