Retailers have criticised the Government move to prohibit the trading of non-essential retailers under Level 4 restrictions in border counties while “retailers in Northern Ireland are trading without restrictions.”
The Government announced last night that Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal will move to Level 4 of its Living with Covid-19 plan from midnight, meaning all retail outlets classed as “non-essential” will close to curb the spread of Covid-19, including clothing, department and gift stores among others.
Meanwhile, it was also announced yesterday that Northern Ireland will be subject to a period of intensified Covid-19 restrictions, with the closures of schools, pubs and restaurants across the region, though the retail sector can remain open with the wearing of face coverings.
Retail Excellence has opposed the move to differentiate between “essential” retailers such as food stores, pharmacies and opticians versus “non-essential” ones, saying that just ten weeks remain until Christmas, which is “the most important period of the year for retailers for turnover and profit.”
Managing Director of Retail Excellence Duncan Graham said restrictions at this time of year could result in up to 10,000 jobs being put at risk in the border counties, where up to 20 per cent of the workforce is employed in retail.
The group said it is “inevitable” that the move to shutter non-essential retailers will result in some businesses having to “shut for good.”
It warned that the closures will only result in more shoppers going online for their Christmas shopping, with 70 per cent of the money spent online going “out of the country.”
Retail Excellence urged shoppers in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan who may be considering shopping online to shop with their local Irish retailer and to avail of other services such as click and collect, which should not be impacted by the new restrictions.