Retail sector calls for early reopening to safely manage Christmas trade

November 11, 2020

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, today called on the government to unwind the restrictions on retail trading in advance of December in response to significantly reduced Covid case numbers and the need to manage Christmas trading safely over the coming weeks. 
Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said: “The four week review of current Covid restrictions should move to unwind retail restrictions to better facilitate a safe and socially-distanced Christmas shopping experience. A short three week shopping window in December will create significant additional challenges for retailers working to manage numbers in stores and reduce the need for queues. 
“Public health is the priority and retailers are taking extra steps to ensure a safe Christmas for customers. Many stores are looking at extending opening hours so that trade can be spread more evenly across the day.”
“The run up to Christmas is make or break for many retailers. Many are relying on the period to make up for the major financial hit taken earlier in the year. While significant government supports are welcome, more is needed to help retailers manage commercial rent liabilities that continue to accrue during lockdown.”

The group said HSE/Health Protection Surveillance Centre data highlighted that only a tiny fraction (0.35%) of Covid transmission were linked to retail settings.