Retailers are welcoming a “landmark day for the industry” ahead of the full reopening of the sector tomorrow.
From Monday, all in-store non-essential retail will resume as part of the Government’s phased plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions, from clothing stores to car dealer showrooms.
Representative body Retail Excellence said tomorrow will see 280,000 retail employees return to work around the country after more than four months of lockdown.
We have had strong assurances from the Government that we are not going backwards
Duncan Graham, Retail Excellence managing director, said this easing of restrictions is different to those that had come before.
“Thankfully, our vaccination rollout is picking up pace and we have had strong assurances from the Government that we are not going backwards,” he said.
“Finally, this means that retailers can plan for the weeks and months ahead with the sort of confidence that has been missing for over a year.
“As always, shoppers can be confident that retailers are continuing to uphold the highest standards of safety for everyone in their stores, and we would urge shoppers to be patient when visiting shops once again.
“Retailers are prepared and fully stocked for the full reopening and cannot wait to get trading properly once again.”
Mr Graham said the retail industry would “undoubtedly” need financial support from the Government in the months ahead.
Amid a raft of loosened Covid-19 restrictions on May 10th, a phased reopening of retail began last week with the return of click-and-collect services and shopping by appointment.
On the same date, intercounty travel resumed, three households or six people were permitted to meet outdoors and a vaccine bonus came into force.
Personal services such as hairdressers also reopened by appointment while galleries, museums and other cultural attractions and libraries also opened their doors.
The easing of Ireland’s restrictions is proceeding in two main phases over the course of May and June, with higher-risk activities such as indoor hospitality and international travel to be considered at the end of June.
Following tomorrow’s retail reopening, the next phase of reopening is earmarked for June 2nd, when hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation are due to reopen for guests.
From June 7th, outdoor services in bars and restaurants are set to recommence, along with outdoor sports matches without spectators.
Gyms, swimming pools, and leisure centres will reopen for individual training, the number of guests attending wedding receptions can increase to 25 and indoor visits in private homes from one other household can begin again.