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Thousands of retailers reopen after months of closure

Thousands more businesses across the country have opened their doors for the first time in nearly three months, as the second phase of the Government’s plan to get the economy moving again gets under way.

All retailers with their own on-street entrances are allowed to resume in-person trade, but opening times and how they operate vary.

However, people are being urged to shop locally, shop safely, and support businesses in their community.

Marts can also reopen again, provided social distancing and hygiene can be maintained.

Those who can work from home are being asked to continue to do so, with the Government saying it is more important than ever that this happens.

Employers are being reminded that they must adhere to the Return to Work Safely Protocols, in order to keep staff, customers and suppliers safe.

The Health and Safety Authority will continue to carry out inspections to ensure compliance.

Shops in shopping centres cannot open today, but they will be able to resume trading on 15 June, once protocols aimed at stopping people congregating in malls are put in place.

While some large retailers have said they will reopen today, others including Arnotts, Brown Thomas and Penneys have decided to defer for a few more days in order to take additional time to get prepared, following Friday’s announcement that all retailers could resume trade.

Shop owners have warned the shopping experience will be very different to the way it was before the pandemic, with browsing likely to be discouraged in many stores, queuing required and additional hygiene measures in place.

Meanwhile, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said people who could not go back to work because of childcare or transport issues would continue to be supported by the State’s welfare subsidy schemes.

The minister has said that until formal or informal childcare arrangements can be resumed on 29 June, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue to support those who cannot go to work.

She said she hopes to see the numbers of people returning to work grow over the coming weeks.

In the capital, Dublin City Council, the National Transport Authority, An Garda Síochána and DublinTown have come together to ensure public safety for those returning to the city centre.

Blue signage has been erected, along with information notices on queuing etiquette and spacing guidelines.

Queue spacers will be clearly marked outside and inside retail outlets and members of the public are asked to be cognisant of social distancing and cough etiquette at all times.

Visitors are also being asked to walk or cycle into the city centre where possible so that the significantly reduced capacity on public transport can be used by essential workers during rush hours.

Longer opening hours are also being encouraged across many businesses to ensure that visits to the city centre can be spread out.

People travelling to the city are also being reminded that public facilities such as bathrooms and toilets are limited because restaurants, pubs and hotels are still shut.

Dublin City Council is working to make such public facilities available at specified locations.

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