A representative group for the Irish retail sector has said that the imposition of new 'lockdown' measures would have a 'devastating impact' on businesses and jobs.
Retail Ireland was commenting following suggestions that Ireland may ramp-up its COVID-19-related restrictions, following recommendations from the country's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
NPHET has suggested moving the entire country to Level 5, the highest level of restrictions, due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. In a Level 5 scenario, only 'essential retail' would be allowed open.
“The news that a widespread retail lockdown is under review is a major shock," commented Retail Ireland director Arnold Dillon.
"The economic and social costs would be enormous, thousands of businesses and jobs would be at risk. This must be avoided. No evidence has been presented that retail settings are a significant cause of COVID transmission. In fact, the sector has radically transformed how it operates, with face masks, social distancing and other hygiene measure, to ensure a safe and highly controlled environment for customers and staff."
In the run up to the key Christmas period, Retail Ireland said that non-grocery trade would move almost exclusively online, with the majority of spend leaving the country.
“We need to be able to manage the threat of Covid through targeted restrictions, while also sustaining economic activity and jobs," Dillon added. "The retail sector has clearly demonstrated that this can be done. A rigorous risk assessment, which incorporates economic and social considerations, must be carried out before any new restrictions are introduced.”
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine