Retailers urge early reopening of shops if Covid rate continues to decline

Shops have proven to be a safe environment for people, and they must be given a chance to prepare for Christmas, says Retail Excellence.
Retailers urge early reopening of shops if Covid rate continues to decline

Dublin's Grafton St in lockdown.

A retail industry group has urged the Government to allow “non-essential” shops to reopen earlier than planned if the country’s Covid-19 case numbers continue to fall.

Currently, all retail outlets deemed not to be essential to daily living are closed as part of the Government’s level 5 restrictions and are not due to reopen until December 1 at the earliest.

In a bid to give retailers a realistic run at Christmas, industry group Retail Excellence has said an earlier reopening date should be approved if daily Covid infection cases continue to decline. The group said that shops have proven to be a safe environment for people, and retailers will be able to maintain such an environment should they reopen.

Retail Excellence has called on the Government to clarify, within the next 10 days, its exact plans to reopen non-essential shops to allow retailers to accurately prepare for pre-Christmas trading.

It also wants to see more support on rents, and a national campaign to promote the purchase of Irish-produced goods.

“This lockdown has been catastrophic for the retail sector,” according to Retail Excellence managing director Duncan Graham.

“Our priority now is to look ahead to the end of this month and the earliest possible reopening of non-essential retail so that we can meet consumer demand and save our retail businesses. 

"These policy pillars can provide the confidence we need to ensure a speedy reopening of the sector.”

As a starting point, the Government must prioritise the reopening of the shops as soon as possible, Mr Graham said.

“A delayed reopening means fewer shopping days and that means busier shopping days,” he said. 

"There is a real logic to making sure we reopen non-essential retail as quickly as possible so we can effectively manage consumer demand in our shops and towns."

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