Reporting by Press Association
Shoppers have descended upon stores across the country, as thousands of retailers reopened their doors after almost five months of closure.
Ireland took another step towards normality as all non-essential retail was allowed to resume on Monday, for the first time since before New Year’s Eve.
Hundreds of shoppers made their way to Dublin’s O’Connell Street and Henry Street to take advantage of the Monday morning reopening.
On Monday some outlets decided to get creative with their bid to entice the public through their doors.
The discount store Dealz was offering rickshaw services up and down Henry Street, with free “pamper packs” offered to shoppers to bring them inside.
One Henry Street shopper, local woman Leslie O’Reilly, said she was “delighted to see a bit of hustle and bustle back in the city".
“That’s what it’s meant for,” she said. “I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the day shopping.”
Asked what she had purchased, she replied: “Socks and jocks for the men at home, PJs and underwear for myself and a few bits for everybody.”
However, the reopening has been stunted somewhat, with many of the shops on Henry Street remaining shuttered.
Ms O’Reilly said: “It’s sad to see. Hopefully now the Government will revive it a bit, put more into the economy and get it back to what it’s meant to be, people on the streets.”
Outside the capital, Kildare Village also reopened its doors to shoppers on Monday.
The centre of some 100 designer outlets offering discounts on recommended retail prices is operating with reduced capacity and face masks available to purchase at all its entry points.
Digital queueing is available at boutiques, and guests are encouraged to use contactless payment and digital navigation via the website.
With all the village's restaurants currently open only for takeaways, guests will able to enjoy outdoor dining on the centre's outdoor dining terraces from June 7th, when the next easing of restrictions takes place.
Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu urged the public to get back to shops at the launch of Dublin City Council's “We’ve Missed You Too” campaign.
“Come in, please come in. Come in and support local businesses, support local stores,” she said.
“They’re really desperately in need of your support. Feel safe by social distancing. We also will have the facilities in place to support people. But please come in and support local businesses.”
Ms Chu said the reopening of retail was “another milestone to celebrate” following a major easing of restrictions on May 10th.
Richard Guiney, chief executive of Dublin Town, said the group was hoping “that this is the last time we do exit such a lockdown.”
“I think there’s a quiet optimism that we’re over the worst of it with the rollout of the vaccine. We’re heading in the right direction,” he said, adding that there remains “a huge amount of financial vulnerability” among businesses.
“We’re hoping that with the pent-up demand, the pent-up savings, that we will have a good trade over the next couple of months,” he said. “Our view would be that if we can make it to September, we will have a good Christmas.”