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‘Shop local’ message key to recovery

Comment & Opinion

SIMPLE MESSAGE As we attempt to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that Mayo people ‘Shop Local’ this Christmas, and into next year. Pic: istock

It’s usually around this time of year when press releases would be dropping in the inbox of editors all over the country from politicians and business leaders, telling the public in general to be mindful of where they spend their hard earned cash for Christmas.
The ‘Shop Local’ message is not a new one by any stretch of the imagination but never has it been more important than over the next six or seven weeks.
We are still some 13 days away from the lifting of Level 5 restrictions but hopefully we are on the right path to see some semblance of normality return for the shopper for the month of December.
It does seem highly unlikely that the government will allow a return to Level 2 come D-day on December 1, and it seems more likely there will be a middle ground sought between Level 2 and 3, to allow the majority of the retail and hospitality open in the run-up to Christmas.
Once that occurs, it is absolutely crucial that we all shop local and spend our money as close to our own doorsteps as we can.
We in The Mayo News have illustrated this this week on our front page, giving over our coveted advertising space to send out a clear signal, ‘Mayo Needs You’, making an appeal for Mayo shoppers to spend their money in the county this Christmas.
Mayo County Council and the Chambers of Commerce in Mayo have made a similar plea, coming up with the innovative ‘Mayo Voucher’ scheme. This is one central gift voucher that can be redeemed at any of hundreds of participating shops and businesses around the county. It can be purchased at any time from anywhere in the world so it also suits anyone abroad buying a present for relatives or loved ones in Mayo, or it can be the perfect present for someone you are finding it difficult to tie down a Christmas gift for.
The Mayo Voucher is an initiative of Mayo Chambers of Commerce, and is supported by Mayo Local Enterprise Office, Mayo.ie and VoucherMe and anyone who would like to sign their business up or buy a Mayo Voucher can do so through the website www.mayovoucher.ie.
These initiatives are key in making sure every effort is made by all Mayo consumers to consciously decide to spend their money in Mayo, and ignore lucrative shopping trips to the north of the country, or buying from websites that will see purchases travel thousands of miles needlessly.
As ISME (the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise association) state in an article on our Business page this week (page 35), every €10 spent on Irish products generates more than €40 of benefit for related businesses, which highlights the importance of shopping local to maintain employment in our communities.
As Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME says: “It is more important than ever before to shop local, and this year we want to encourage consumers to continue to support Irish SMEs beyond the Christmas period and throughout 2021. The difficulties faced by Irish businesses since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic are very serious, and SMEs have had to make significant investments in enabling online offerings, purchasing equipment, and implementing procedures to adhere to Government guidelines, including screens, PPE and outdoor dining facilities.”
So do the decent thing this December, shop local and reward all those businesses who have gone the extra mile to open their doors and ensure you can spend your money for Christmas in a clean, safe and welcoming environment.