Government expected to announce Covid lockdown extension to March

26 Jan 2021

Retail Excellence, the largest representative body for the retail industry in Ireland, has called on the Government to provide significant financial supports to the industry, as the country is set to face an extended period of lockdown.

Today (Tuesday), the Government is expected to confirm that the current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions will be in place until at least March 5th.

Speaking today, Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence, said that the Government must put a robust plan in place to offer assistance.

“We understand the need for a lockdown at present, as case numbers are still too high for a wider reopening of the economy. However, by the end of this lockdown retailers will have been shut for at least half a year if not longer, and they deserve to know how the Government will plan on helping them once this virus is defeated.

“We need a significant amount of help on rents and fixed costs to safeguard the industry, as well as a proposal to reskill thousands of workers whose jobs are at risk. We have yet to see a definitive plan on how that might happen.”

He added that the Government should advise the retail industry of how many case numbers or vaccinations were needed before shops could be reopened. “At present we are in a holding pattern, with no clarity whatsoever on how and when retailers can reopen. Everyone appreciates the need for restrictions at present, but surely it is not too much to ask for clarity on what is needed for reopening in terms of case numbers or the progress of the vaccination rollout.

“Retailers urgently need assurances so they can start planning for the post-Covid landscape.”

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