Retailers have reacted with deep disappointment to the Government’s decision to close all non-essential retail as part of the move to Level 5.
Retail Ireland described it as a serious blow and said there is very real concern that many vulnerable retail businesses will not survive.
Business reaction to last night’s move by the Government was swift and in large part critical from within the retail community.
Retail Excellence said members were extremely concerned and upset at having to close their business for six weeks ahead of Christmas and predicted 60,000 jobs would be lost.
DublinTown, which represents Dublin city businesses, said its members were dismayed by the decision and said it had sealed the fate of many.
Retail Ireland said the closure of non-essential retail was a serious blow and called for a clear and comprehensive strategy for the unwinding of the restrictions.
Its parent Ibec said it is important now that as much remote and home working as possible is undertaken to facilitate schools, manufacturing and construction activities.
Chief executive Danny McCoy called for everyone to pull together to support the re-opening of shops and other businesses in six weeks time.
“The costs have been determined, the benefits have to be achieved,” he said. “It’s imperative, in the business community as well, to make these six weeks a success.”
The Government is providing supports to businesses in the form of a weekly grant to based on 2019 turnover; the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be restored to €350 and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme is also available to employers.
Mr McCoy said he thinks those supports should be enough, “but really we are looking at devastation for a significant number of sectors because it’s not just this set of restrictions, it’s building upon what happened earlier in the year.
“The overall strategy announced last night is suppression over the next six weeks but with the expectation that it’s going to go up again so the potential is there for further restrictions in the New Year.
“It’s against that backdrop that the confidence of the business community has to be strengthened,” he said.
Fitness and leisure sector body, Ireland Active, said its members will need further Government support over the coming weeks to ensure the industry is able to survive and remain viable.
But the Construction Industry Federation welcomed the Government’s decision to allow construction remain open describing it as an “awesome responsibility”.
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