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Open for Business

'Hardware but not homeware': Here's a definitive list of what stores are allowed open from Monday

Garden centres and farmers’ markets are on the list of outlets that can re-open.

FROM MONDAY, SOME BUSINESS and retail outlets will be re-opening – but they’ll look a little different from how you remember them. 

Today, Minister for Health Simon Harris spoken for many people when he said that never before in Irish history has there been such excitement about going to a garden centre. 

But, he warned that “the opening of the garden centre isn’t the danger”.

“It’s how we decide to behave when we go there.”

So, alongside garden centres, what retail outlets are re-opening?

In a letter from the National Public Health Emergency Team to the government, the body recommended that “retail outlets that are primarily outdoor” will be allowed to re-open. 

That means garden centres, farmers’ markets and hardware stores can open once again. 

Crucially homeware outlets will not reopen yet, despite being named on the government’s roadmap as shops that could re-open in Phase One. 

Asked about the distinction between homeware and hardware, Harris said that homeware wasn’t necessarily an urgent thing to re-open. 

“If you need to buy new curtains, it can wait a couple of weeks,” Harris said. 

Business minister Heather Humphreys acknowledged that some hardware outlets sell homeware, but said that “if you’re predominantly a hardware shop you can stay open and sell the products”. 

Only stores that are providing homeware in a way that is “incidental” can re-open in phase one

“If you have a hardware shop and happen to have a small homeware section, you’re allowed to sell,” she said. 

Swedish furniture giant Ikea intended to reopen its two Dublin stores on Monday but cancelled its plans following the Government’s homeware distinction today. 

The Ballymun and Carrickmines stores will remain closed for the time being. 

What else?

Opticians and optometrists can now open on a full-time basis, alongside anywhere that provides hearing test and hearing aid services. 

Businesses that are involved in the “sale, supply and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles” can also re-open fully, while shops selling office products can return to operation too. 

The government also announced that shops that sell and repair electrical, IT and phone devices can re-open fully too. 


Businesses will be expected to follow all public health guidance, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today. 

There’ll be a dedicated staff member or ‘warden’ on each site who’ll take charge of ensuring that social distancing and other measures are being followed. 

Overseeing the new regulatory regime will be the Health and Safety Authority, which will inspect businesses and ensure compliance.

“The objective isn’t going to be to shut down businesses, it’s to help people comply,” Varadkar said. 

He acknowledged that there will be a learning curve and even “teething problems”. 

“I’ve no doubt that’s on Monday morning and by Tuesday we will see images in the media and social media of things happening in workplaces that shouldn’t be happening, that’s what has happened in other countries as they’ve opened up too,” he said. 

“The approach will be to encourage require businesses workplaces to comply in the first couple of days. And if they don’t, then enforcement can happen, including the closure of businesses, including prosecution and fines.”

“But we’re not going to leap to that,” he said. 

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