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Non-essential retail to remain open under Level 5 but shops asked to defer January sales

“The retail sector will be requested to defer January sales events,” the Taoiseach said this afternoon announcing the measures.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL will be to allowed remain open but shops have been asked not to hold January sales as the government announced the country was heading back to Level 5 restrictions, with some modifications. 

Amid a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed this afternoon that the country will enter Level 5 from 24 December.

While non-essential shops will be permitted to remain open after that date the sector is being asked not to hold sales in January. “The retail sector will be requested to defer January sales events,” Martin said this afternoon announcing the measures. 

Duncan Graham of Retail Excellence Ireland welcomed the news that non-essential retail was to be allowed to stay open under the Level 5 restrictions.

Responding to the Taoiseach’s comments about winter sales he told RTÉ’s News at One it wasn’t in anybody’s interest to see large crowds come into stores in late December or early January, and called on customers to continue to use options to shop online or utilise click & collect.

In a national address just three days out from Christmas, the Taoiseach said household visits will be limited to one other household from 27 December. From 1 January, no household or garden visits will be permitted. 

Inter-county travel will be restricted from 26 December, though people who have already left their county can remain in another county until they are due to return home. 

Government has decided to keep non-essential retail and gyms open, despite Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan recommending that the country move to Level 5 restrictions as soon as possible. 

Yesterday, public health officials warned that Ireland is now “clearly in a third wave of this pandemic”.

“If [the virus] is left to spread unchecked, it will reach the most vulnerable,” the Taoiseach said this afternoon. “And they will pay a heavy price.”

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He said it was important for people’s mental health and wellbeing that there was some respite from restrictions. 

“Unfortunately, in the last week we have seen extraordinary growth in the spread of the virus,” Martin said, adding there’s a daily growth rate of around 10%.

“It’s simply not sustainable,” he says, adding that the “safest and most responsible thing to do” is to act as if the new strain of Covid-19 being seen in the UK is already here.

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