Photos: Deserted pandemic streets greet St Stephen’s Day shoppers

ireland
Photos: Deserted Pandemic Streets Greet St Stephen’s Day Shoppers Photos: Deserted Pandemic Streets Greet St Stephen’s Day Shoppers
Belfast city centre, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Digital Desk Staff. Additional reporting by PA.

Dublin was “eerily quiet” on St Stephen’s Day as Covid-19 restrictions halted the sales rush typically seen on the day after Christmas.

As Ireland enters its third lockdown, non-essential retailers have been permitted to remain open on the condition they postpone or move online annual winter sales.

The Irish Times reports that as the doors of Arnotts opened shortly before 9am this morning in the capital, staff outnumbered customers by a “significant margin”.

Sale signs on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre, where retailers can remain open but have been asked to defer sales until January. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Images.

A Garda car on Henry Street in Dublin city centre, where retailers have been asked to defer sales until January. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Images.

About a half hour later, a large television screen counted just over 100 shoppers spread out across four floors.

Grafton Street was reportedly “even quieter”, with Brown Thomas among only a handful of retailers whose doors opened in the early morning.

People on Henry Street in Dublin city centre, where retailers can remain open but have been asked to defer sales until January. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Images.

People on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre, where retailers can remain open but have been asked to defer sales until January. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Images.

People outside Bewley's cafe on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre, where retailers can remain open but have been asked to defer sales until January. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Images.

Meanwhile, businesses across Northern Ireland were shuttered once more as new lockdown measures came into effect.

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The new restrictions include a form of curfew operating from 8pm, with shops closed from that time and all indoor and outdoor gatherings prohibited until 6am.

In Belfast, streets were deserted, in stark contrast to the typical rush for St Stephen’s or Boxing Day sales.

A deserted Victoria shopping centre in Belfast city centre as Northern Ireland entered a new extended lockdown on St Stephen's Day. Photo: Peter Morrison/PA Images.

Deserted streets in Belfast city centre as Northern Ireland entered a new extended lockdown on St Stephen's Day. Photo: Peter Morrison/PA Images.

Non-essential retail and close contact services such as hairdressers have closed and will remain so for the next six weeks. Hospitality outlets are limited to takeaway services.

Covid-19 infection rates remain high across the island, with a virulent strain first discovered in southern England and London recently detected in both the Republic and the North.

A total of 26 deaths and 2,294 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on the island of Ireland on Saturday.

In the Republic, the National Public Health Emergency Team confirmed 1,296 new cases of the virus, along with six further deaths.

In Northern Ireland, an additional 998 new cases were confirmed over the past two days, along with 20 deaths related to Covid-19 in the same period.

A no entry sign in the window of a shop in Belfast city centre as Northern Ireland entered a new extended lockdown on St Stephen's Day. Photo: Peter Morrison/PA Images.

A farewell notice in a shop window in Belfast city centre as Northern Ireland entered a new extended lockdown on St Stephen's Day. Photo: Peter Morrison/PA Images.

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