At the earliest, non-essential shops may be allowed to offer click and collect again from 4 May.
RETAILERS ARE DISAPPOINTED that click and collect services have not been included as part of restrictions that are set to ease next month.
The continued ban on click and collect is detrimental to the retail industry, representatives have said.
Depending on to the situation at the time, the government is considering a phased return of non-essential retail starting on 4 May.
As part of that phased return, click and collect services and outdoor retail, such as garden centres, would be the first to recommence.
Retail Ireland has said it is disappointed and frustrated that click and collect is not being reintroduced sooner.
Arnold Dillon, Retail Ireland Director, said that click and collect would “provide a crucial additional sales channel for those retailers currently closed”.
“It is particularly important for smaller businesses where delivery costs are prohibitive. These businesses have been the hardest hit by Covid restrictions and are the least equipped to compete with online platforms,” Dillon said.
He said that the “delayed reopening of the wider retail sector has compounded the serious difficulties many retailers are facing” and that Ireland should work towards an “all-island approach” in line with Northern Ireland on retail restrictions.
Similarly, Managing Director of Retail Excellence Duncan Graham said that the group is “deeply shocked and disappointed at the Government’s decision this evening, which will have a profoundly negative effect on the retail industry”.
“Click and collect is a lifeline for businesses, especially small independent traders, and this move will now seriously threaten the viability of hundreds of retailers around the country who were desperate for assistance and a definitive timeline from the Government,” Graham said.
“Retailers believed that the reintroduction of click and collect services was a fair, safe and realistic first step on the road back to where they want to be,” he said.
“The Government has not only denied them that, but also any kind of meaningful timeline to a full reopening of the industry.”
As well as a phased return of non-essential retail, museums, galleries, libraries could be allowed to reopen in May, along with a staggered return of personal and religious services.
“Towards the end of April, we will examine the situation and in the month of May we will look at a phased reopening of non-essential retail, personal services, all non-contact sports training, religious services, museums, galleries and libraries, and additional freedoms for those who are fully vaccinated,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin said this evening.
“Towards the end of May, and depending on progress, we will look at the reopening of hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses in the month of June,” the Taoiseach said.
“July and August will see more intensive vaccination and the vast majority of the population will have significant protection against the virus allowing for significant opportunities to re-open even further,” he said.
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From 12 April, the 5km limit on travel is to lift. In its place, people will be allowed to travel within their own county and up to 20km from their home, even if that involves crossing a county border.
Two households will be permitted to meet outdoors recreationally from the same date and housing construction is to recommence.