Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

08.59 9 May 2021


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Businesses across the country are planning to open their doors again tomorrow for the first time in months.

Several restrictions will be lifted from Monday, with personal services like hairdressers, barbers and salons set to resume trading.

Galleries, museums, libraries and cultural attractions will also welcome back visitors.

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Click-and-collect and appointment-only shopping can resume, while the inter-county travel ban will be lifted.

Households will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six and 50 people can attend weddings and funerals.

Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh heard from three businesses on how they are feeling ahead of opening to the public tomorrow.

Dylan Bradshaw, the owner and creative director of Dylan Bradshaw Salons, said there was a feeling of excitement but also some nervousness after being closed for five months.

Businesses excited to welcome back customers as COVID-19 restrictions ease on Monday

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"We're really looking forward to it but it's going to be a hectic four of five weeks ahead," he said.

His team have been working "tirelessly" to prepare for appointments after a scramble to get ready for reopening once the government gave them the green light. 

"Basically, our industry went into meltdown because realistically no one was ordering stock until we got a confirmed date and that's a hell of a lot of cost to put your stock orders in until you're confirmed so I don't think we would have opened in time," Mr Bradshaw said.

"After five months of your business being closed, it does take a bit of time to get it ready to go.

"We're delighted, it's great to know we're back in business but in saying that, we also, the next day after the announcement, had 850 emails straight away and that's beside the 2,000 that were in a queuing system for appointments."

He added it was important for businesses and the public alike to "not take the foot off the gas now" with regard to adhering the public health safety measures.

The same system that was in place last year will apply in his salon, with mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing enforced.

Speaking to the same programme, Sarah Kenny of Kenny's Bookstore in Galway said they were looking forward to operating a click and collect service from Monday and then opening fully the following week.

"We're excited to have the customers back and the doors open again," she said.

"We've had people coming to the door basically on a daily basis over the last month knocking and asking to come in but we had to say sorry, we're not able to let you in yet.

"The consumer is very much eager to get back to their local bookshop and library.

The store has been lucky to be able to fulfil online orders throughout the pandemic, she added, but customers will be really looking forward to browsing the aisles again.

Ms Kenny added that the shop has brought in a large range of new stock for readers to enjoy, while all the usual COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place when they open their doors again.

Dr Patrick Greene, the CEO and Director of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin, is advising visitors to book their tickets online.

"We are so excited to be in a position to open tomorrow and actually welcome people into the museum," he said.

"We've had a very busy online presence but there's nothing like the personal contact people get by visiting EPIC, they discover lots about how Irish people have left Ireland and made a mark throughout the world and it's an exciting story and it's a story that people respond to."

Dr Greene is ensuring that the safety of the public and staff is paramount, while also making the "hands-on" experience that the museum traditionally offers enjoyable for visitors.

People will get a stylus as they enter EPIC to use on the screens throughout the exhibitions, meaning there is no need for them to touch the interactive screens themselves.

He advised that it is best for people to pre-book their tickets as they are selling the experience in slots so visitors can be guaranteed a time that isn't crowded.

Main image: Hairdresser Eimear Rutherford and stylist Jessica Bissett of Frame Hair Salon in Skerries preparing for reopening on Monday. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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