'A good vibe about the place': Cork city retailers enjoy successful first day after reopening their doors

'A good vibe about the place': Cork city retailers enjoy successful first day after reopening their doors
Shoppers on Winthrop Street in Cork as a lot of the retail shops opened yesterday. Picture Dan Linehan

There is a good vibe and positive atmosphere around Cork city centre today as many more businesses rolled up their shutters and opened their doors ahead of welcoming back customers.

Store owners have been busy welcoming back both loyal and new customers alike as people visited the city centre to support local in what is phase two of the Government’s roadmap to reopening society and business.

Fitzgerald Menswear opened its doors on Patrick Street this morning at 10.30am and has been doing “very well” since.

Managing Director of Fitzgerald Menswear, Eddie Mullins, said that he is “delighted” with the first day back which has “exceeded” his expectations.

“We’re getting on very well. Literally from when we opened there was a nice buzz around and it got busier and busier as the day went on.

Eddie Mullins, managing director, Fitzgerald Menswear, St. Patrick's St., Cork, preparing to re-open the business.Picture Denis Minihane.
Eddie Mullins, managing director, Fitzgerald Menswear, St. Patrick's St., Cork, preparing to re-open the business.Picture Denis Minihane.

“We’re delighted with the first day back and it’s exceeded our expectations. We had our figure set and we exceeded what we thought we would do so it’s been good.

“There’s an atmosphere around town as well today. People were itching to get out so it’s great,” he said.

Mr Mullins said that people were being “very respectful” in adhering to restrictions in store.

“People are adhering to the restrictions and have been very structured. They’ve asked for masks which we have and are hand sanitizing and using the lift to go up the lift and down the stairs so it’s all very respectful,” he said.

Eddie Mullins, managing director, Fitzgerald Menswear, St. Patrick's St., Cork, preparing to re-open the business.Picture Denis Minihane.
Eddie Mullins, managing director, Fitzgerald Menswear, St. Patrick's St., Cork, preparing to re-open the business.Picture Denis Minihane.

Owner of local quirky gift shop Unbound north of the River Lee on Bridge Street, welcomed a “slow and steady” day with no more than two in the shop at any one given time.

Evanne O’Caoimh said that she was worried that reopening would be stressful but said that customers “have been very chilled”.

People visiting the gift shop, which has a strong emphasis on sustainable, fair trade and positive products, have been able to take their time browsing products as it’s not too busy.

Evanne O'Caoimh, owner, preparing for the re-opening of the gift shop, Unbound, at Bridge Street, Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.
Evanne O'Caoimh, owner, preparing for the re-opening of the gift shop, Unbound, at Bridge Street, Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.

“There has been the odd person coming and there coming in and spending time. They’re the only person in the shop at the time or maybe one other person so they don’t feel pressured and they can take a bit more time to shop which is much nicer than having that stress,” she said.

Managing Director of Neville Jewellers, which opened its Winthrop Street store today, John Neville, said that “things are tipping away” in what has been “a reasonable day”.

A busy Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
A busy Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

He said that staff are getting used to the required PPE and making sure that they all live up to the standards that are expected.

He said that in what is a learning curve for everyone, people have been “very patient”.

John Nevillle of Neville Jewellers, Winthrop Street, Cork and staff Edel O'Sullivan and Marguerite Leahy, at the city centre store.Pic; Larry Cummins.
John Nevillle of Neville Jewellers, Winthrop Street, Cork and staff Edel O'Sullivan and Marguerite Leahy, at the city centre store.Pic; Larry Cummins.

“There’s a good feel and a good vibe about the place and it’s all going in the right direction so we’re happy,” Mr Neville said.

On Friday last, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar deemed it safe to move to phase two of the plan today with the announcement that the roadmap is to be accelerated, reducing the number of phases.

There will now be four phases rather than five with phase three to begin on June 29 and phase four on July 20.

Mr Varadkar said that the acceleration of the plan has been made possible “because of the considerable sacrifices” that the public has made to restrict the spread of the virus.

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