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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 6 June, 2020

Grafton Street footfall plummets by 75% as people stay away from Dublin city centre

Customer-facing businesses – employing 35,000 people – have mostly shut according to Dublin Town.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/OLOS

FOOTFALL IN DUBLIN city dropped by 65.8% between last Monday and yesterday according to new data from Dublin Town.

It said today that most customer-facing businesses in the city – employing some 35,000 people – are now closed, with the exception of those providing essential retail services.

Around 200,000 less people are visiting the city centre each day as remote working and social distancing measures take hold, according to the data.

Retailers big and small have elected to close their shops due to coronavirus fears, with all pubs also shut and most restaurants also closed.

Dublin Town – a group representing businesses in the city – said the decline on Monday 16 March was 37.5%. This rose to 77% on Saturday.

Compared to St Patrick’s Day last year, footfall was down 71.7% this year.

Its data said the streets with the highest concentration of hospitality businesses were impacted. South William Street had a reduction of 85%, while Grafton Street saw a 75% drop in its footfall.

Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney said: “This is an unprecedented event, starkly illustrated by the dramatic decline in city centre footfall.  St. Patrick’s week is traditionally the beginning of the tourist season and one where it’s all hands on deck for many in the hospitality sector.  However, this year many businesses within the industry had their doors closed.

“The current emergency is first and foremost a health crisis and the preserving life has to take precedence over all other considerations.

However, we must also do everything in our power to ensure that the economy is ready to rebound rapidly once it is safe to do so. Central to this is assisting employers to retain their skilled and talented workforce. This will require innovative schemes similar to some of those developed in other jurisdictions where employers and the state combine to provide a living wage for those forced out of work.

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Sean Murray

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