Retailers 'excited' but 'nervous' to reopen after six weeks of closure

The owners of shops, gyms and hairdressers who are reopening after six weeks of closure say they ...

08.51 1 Dec 2020

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Retailers 'excited' but 'nervo...

Retailers 'excited' but 'nervous' to reopen after six weeks of closure


08.51 1 Dec 2020

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The owners of shops, gyms and hairdressers who are reopening after six weeks of closure say they are "excited" but also "a little bit nervous" today.

Ireland has officially exited lockdown with level three restrictions now in place nationwide.

The re-openings are taking place with strict adherence to protective measures, and face coverings must be worn.


The advice is to still work from home, and there is a recommendation to wear a face mask outdoors on busy streets.

People have been queuing outside shops since early this morning as the level five restrictions were eased.

Speaking this morning, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he has no problem with people queuing outside shops once it is done safely.

Some owners of retail outlets, gyms and hairdressers spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about how they were feeling about reopening.

Gerard Keane from Keanes Jewellers who has outlets in Limerick, Killarney and Cork said he is hopeful his stores can do the same amount of traditional Christmas sales over the next three weeks.

On reopening, he said: "We're very excited, a little nervous obviously but really looking forward to it.

"I feel sorry for the pub industry and wish them all the best for 2021."

He added that it was "very difficult" for retailers to navigate lockdown.

He said: "From our point of view, retail has been very good with only 25 clusters associated.

"We've managed to keep all our staff and going forward, for the next six weeks the safety of staff and customers is paramount.

Mr Keane added that his shops are 150 square metres in size, with only a maximum of ten customers allowed in at any one time, meaning there is a lot of space for each person on the premises.

He said: "In these times nothing is fair, we have to toe the line and follow the guidelines.

"We have three weeks to do six weeks' business and if we don't do that, we'll look forward to 2021."

People form a queue outside a Penneys outlet in the Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin. Picture by: Josh Crosbie

'A good move'

Katie Dwyer, owner of Katie’s Barbers in Ratoath, Co Meath said she is operating an appointments system and strict social distancing.

She said "it's a good move" that non-essential retailers are reopening but that she had always strictly adhered to public health guidelines anyway through temperature checks and contact tracing.

She added: "Our village was the highest in Ireland for COVID a while back and my shop was completely safe, so I didn't feel we should have had to close down."

Elsewhere, Greg Kenny, MD of One Life Fitness, said his three outlets across Cork and Dublin opened from 6am this morning.

He said the gyms are enforcing social distancing, have sanitary stations on the gym floor, ventilation and an anti-bacterial mist machine.

He added that these measures put a lot of their members at ease, with a "steady flow" of people visiting the gyms since reopening today.

Retailers 'excited' but 'nervous' to reopen after six weeks of closure

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Newstalk Breakfast


Keeping Dublin city vibrant

Coilin O’Reilly from Dublin City Council told the same programme that only a small number of businesses do not adhere to public health guidelines.

He said: "I've been out and about in the city already this morning and there are no huge queues as of yet.

"Dublin City Council are excited to see the city reopening but we also need to ensure it's done in a safe way.

"We've been working with the Gardaí and business representatives over the last month with regard to reopening."

Mr O'Reilly said queuing systems would play a key role in ensuring people can safely visit retail outlets, with queuing icons being distributed to shops.

He added: "I'm just asking businesses to help us to help them by taking responsibility.

"In fairness to businesses, they've been great in whats they've said they will do.

"99.9% of businesses are really good at what they do and following public health guidelines.

"We all really want to keep business open in the city, maintain the jobs, keep the city vibrant.

"So I don't have any huge worries but we will be out and about all day making sure people are doing things the right way."

Main image: People wearing face masks pass by a shop front on Henry Street in Dublin. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

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Covid-19 Gyms Hairdressers Level Three. Level Five Non Essential Retailers Penneys Reopening Retail

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