Cautious optimism as Cork's shopping centres reopen

Cautious optimism as Cork's shopping centres reopen
Angela and Emily Gunn, Blackrock, Cork, at Mahon Point Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane

SHOPPING centres reopened to the public with cautious optimism yesterday, almost three months after Covid-19 restrictions halted business across Ireland.

The retail centres had not been scheduled to reopen until August 10 under the government’s original plan.

However, it has since brought forward certain measures allowing shopping centres to open yesterday.

Mahon Point’s General Manager, Justin Young, said that while they are working their way towards a brighter future for the centre, customers will have to adjust to a new shopping experience.

Sinéad Malone and her children Mia and Cian Cronin, Ballyvolane, Cork, at Mahon Point Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane
Sinéad Malone and her children Mia and Cian Cronin, Ballyvolane, Cork, at Mahon Point Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane

“When we looked at the initial phasing date it was August 10. On an economic level that would have been devastating so to have that date brought forward was incredibly important for us,” he said.

He asked for the public’s support in adhering to guidelines around social distancing and hygiene.

“This will be a new shopping experience for people. Before it was all about leisurely shopping.

“Now, in the climate that we’re in, shopping is going to be a more focused, purposeful event.

Colette and Rachel Harrington going in to Penneys store at Wilton Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane
Colette and Rachel Harrington going in to Penneys store at Wilton Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane

“That’s why we’re asking that customers consider all the times that shops are open which are available on our website. People can come down and do what they need to do, but leave in a timely manner.”

Shoppers waited in eager anticipation in queues lined with floor markers to ensure social distancing. Each store had its own greeter assigned to make sure there was only a certain number allowed access at a time.

Friends Sandra Finn and Assumpta O’Sullivan made their way out to the centre.

Zoe Hourigan, Blackrock, Cork, at Mahon Point Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane
Zoe Hourigan, Blackrock, Cork, at Mahon Point Shopping Centre which has reopened in Cork.Picture Denis Minihane

“It’s good to be able to finally see and touch the clothes before you buy them,” said Assumpta. “Now, we can buy clothes and not have to wait weeks for them to arrive.”

For Sandra this was more than just a shopping trip.

“I went for a coffee in Starbucks. I didn’t even know what I was going to pick up today. It’s just been good to have a bit of normality.”

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