Retail Excellence has set out three key demands for Government in advance of next week’s reopening of non-essential retail following a six-week nationwide Level 5 lockdown.
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 30th 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.”
Retail Excellence Is Calling For:
- The reopening date of non-essential retail to be brought forward to Monday, November 30th 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.
Graham also called on the Government to ease restrictions from Monday so that shoppers could travel across county boundaries and also to ensure coffee shops and cafes could facilitate indoor dining.
“If shoppers cannot leave their own county, this will have a hugely negative effect on retailers who depend on this business. 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.”
He added that the Government and local authorities must facilitate longer trading hours through December to adequately deal with shopper demand. “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.”
He also called on the Irish people to support Irish businesses for Christmas.
“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,” he concluded.