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Retailers prepare for 'make or break' Christmas run-in with longer opening hours and 24-hour shopping

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to re-open from next Tuesday.

A man walks past a shop in Dublin
A man walks past a shop in Dublin
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

RETAILERS ARE PREPARING for extended opening hours from next week following the Government’s confirmation yesterday that Ireland will move to Level 3 restrictions.

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to re-open from next Tuesday, after remaining shut for six weeks under Level 5 restrictions during what would normally be one of the busiest periods of the year in the lead-up to Christmas.

Some stores are seeking to make up for lost time and are preparing for a pre-Christmas surge by announcing longer opening hours from Tuesday.

This morning, Penneys said it will keep its stores in Blanchardstown and Dundrum in Dublin open for a 24-hour period from Tuesday into Wednesday.

The retailer made the announcement as part of a notice saying all 36 of its stores across the country will open on 1 December, and that all stores will have extended trading hours.

Supermarkets including Aldi, Lidl and Supervalu have also announced extended hours in the run up to Christmas, although some are not expected to do so until the week before 25 December.

Meanwhile, the Government has also announced that it is considering issues around bus capacity, which remains at 50% under Level 3 restrictions, ahead of Christmas.

Last night, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan suggested operators could put on additional services, including late night services, to cope with a surge in demand.

In his address to the nation, the Taoiseach urged people and businesses to take personal responsibility for their own safety and keep the infection rate down during the Christmas period.

He said: “In making this decision, we are trusting business owners and we are trusting their customers.

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“We all have individual personal responsibility, and by closely following the rules we believe we can make this reopening sustainable.”

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, welcomed the confirmation that retail will reopen fully.

The group’s director Arnold Dillon described the weeks ahead as “make or break” for many retailers.

“Every day matters. It’s crucial that customers support those businesses that have been badly hit by Covid restrictions,” he said.

“Public safety is the absolute priority. Retailers have gone to enormous lengths to protect staff and customers. Additional measures will be taken over the coming weeks, including extending opening hours to better spread customer numbers across the whole day.”

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