Retailers in Ireland should be allowed open earlier than planned due to falling Covid-19 cases, industry body Retail Excellence has said.
Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence, said its members have endured their "worst-ever year," with many forced to shut their doors for more than 20 weeks due to Covid-19 restrictions.
"Given that Covid case numbers are continuing to fall and retail has been proven to be a safe environment for shoppers, it would greatly help the industry if retailers could open earlier than planned in order to maximise preparation time for Christmas and accommodate shoppers who are looking to purchase goods on Black Friday at the end of November."
Mr Graham also said it is crucial that shoppers buy Irish goods in the run-up to Christmas, and into 2021.
The Irish SME Association (ISME), which represents more than 10,000 small and medium-sized businesses, has also launched its 'Shop Local — Not Just for Christmas' campaign.
They said every €10 spent on Irish products generates more than €40 for related businesses. Irish SMEs are currently facing significant pressure with business closures and other restrictions associated with Covid-19, the group said.
ISME CEO Neil McDonnell said this is further compounded by "the significant investments" SMEs have made in enabling online offerings, purchasing equipment and implementing procedures to adhere to Government guidelines, including screens, PPE and outdoor dining facilities.
“Over the coming months, we are calling on Irish consumers to continue this trend and make that effort to shop locally, both online and in-person," he said.