The government imposed strict new public health measures to control the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, ordering a two week lockdown of the country.
During this period, people should stay in their homes except for extremely limited circumstances in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
People shouldn’t go out except to buy groceries, collect a meal, attend health appointments, or to get brief exercise within 2km of their home.
Public transport has also been restricted to those people who are travelling to or from work which has been deemed essential.
Those retail industries which are considered essential, and remain open during this period, are as follows:
1. Retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers in non-specialised and specialised stores
2. Retail sale of household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences and businesses
3. Pharmacies/Chemists and retailers providing pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical or dispensing services
4. Retail sale of selling medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores
5. Fuel stations and heating fuel providers
6. Retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding
7. Laundries and Drycleaners
8. Banks, Post Offices and Credit Unions
9. Retail sale of safety supply stores (work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment, for example)
A number of other businesses may remain open, but only to offer an emergency call-out or delivery service, which are:
- retailers involved in the repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycle repair and related facilities (tyre sales and repairs for example)
- hardware stores, builder’s merchants and stores that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies and tools essential for gardening/farming/agriculture
- retail sale of office products and services for individuals working from home and for businesses
- retailers providing electrical, IT and phone sales, repair and maintenance services for home.
Those retail outlets which do remain open during the coronavirus lockdown must ensure that certain social distancing measures are adhered to.
These measures include ensuring adequate distancing between customers and shop assistants, only letting people into stores in small groups, managing queues inside and outside the store to maintain physical distancing, and providing online services wherever possible to reduce footfall.