THINK SMALL Supporting the smaller, independent retailers like vegetable shops, butchers, cafés and boutiques in your nearest town will be vital for their survival and the local economy in the coming months.
Support your local businesses and help them get back on their feet
IT’S been a very difficult couple of months for small businesses right across the county, but at least there are finally signs that we are winning the battle against the coronavirus and things are slowly beginning to return to normal.
Yesterday saw Phase 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery begin and a number of retail shops opened their doors for the first time since March. It was also confirmed on Friday that the reopening of the Irish economy will be completed in four phases, not five as originally planned. Phase 3 will commence on June 29, and Phase 4 is due to start on July 20.
So now that a lot of our local businesses have re-opened, it clearly is imperative that they receive support from the public in general.
It may be tempting to now go outside your 5km and drive to other towns to do your shopping but now more than ever, shoppers should try and spend their hard earned cash in their own local towns and shops.
The shopping experience will be a completely different one to what it was before Covid-19 but our trips to the supermarkets during lockdown have us well prepared for hand hygiene and social distancing, so that should not be too much of a problem.
However, patience will be needed as there are likely to be queues in most shops, particularly the smaller shops where there will be tighter limits on the number of shoppers that can be granted access at any one time.
So your shopping trips are likely to take longer, and that is even more reason to cut out travelling time and get all your goods from the shops that are closest to you.
Retailers will also be well aware that shoppers are going to expect value for money in these tough times, so there is likely to be value available from most businesses. Making a profit for the year 2020 will be next to near impossible for a lot of these retail shops but getting money back in their tills is the most important thing at this time.
There is also strength in numbers, and it is important that retailers and businesses in our smaller towns work together and help each other out over the coming months.
In the large towns, a co-ordinated approach under the umbrella of the local Chamber of Commerce is definitely a step in the right direction. We here in The Mayo News have been delighted to join forced with the Westport Chamber of Commerce to run a competition for the next couple of months aimed at rewarding shop owners who show innovation with their shop displays to entice customers in their door. (For full details on the collaboration, see page 13 of this week’s edition.)
We have still some distance to travel on the roadmap before things return to normal, and it is still some seven weeks before before our hairdressers and barbers are allowed to open. However, that industry is continuing to lobby the Government in the hopes of having their opening date moved forward to June 29.
That is when our restaurants and hotels will be opening up, and that important sector is this week going to have direct communication with the Government in relation to what exactly they will and won’t be allowed to do.
Two metres social distancing continues to be a real barrier for many of the smaller restaurants and bars, but one would hope that the businesses will make a decision to open their doors and hope that a relaxation to one metre will eventually be put in place, once the virus has practically disappeared from our shores.