'Shops that close now may never open again' says retail body as restrictions tighten

ireland
Henry Street in Dublin on St Stephen's Day. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto)
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Muireann Duffy

Retail Excellence has said the Government's decision to reintroduce a full-scale Level 5 lockdown will lead to some shops going out of business for good.

Under the tightened restrictions announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin this evening, non-essential retailers will shut at close of business tomorrow, along with gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools.

Retail Excellence chief executive Duncan Graham said shops are being punished despite having followed the public health guidelines.

"We did everything we were asked to do over the Christmas period. We restricted customer numbers in the run up to Christmas, we managed the post-Christmas period with great care and sensitivity as we were asked, and we paid huge attention to ensuring safety protocols were respected.

"Even earlier this week the Taoiseach himself acknowledged that there is no evidence of retail contributing to the spread of the virus, yet we are now forced to lockdown."

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Mr Graham added the new restrictions will devastated businesses across the country.

"After the year we have had, I fear that many shops that close now may never open again.

"Our members will need urgent, significant financial support to have any chance of reopening, and we will be seeking urgent meetings with the Government around how to manage rents, taxes and payroll given the extended lockdowns we have had to endure over the past 9 months."

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