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Sp-end of lockdown Everything you need to know as non-essential shops fully reopen on Monday

Public health and social distancing measures will still be in place and numbers in shops will be limited, but appointments to buy underwear can be a thing of the past.

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Clodagh Conlon, Leona Conlon and Caoimhe Kennedy after shopping in Penneys on Monday

Clodagh Conlon, Leona Conlon and Caoimhe Kennedy after shopping in Penneys on Monday

Clodagh Conlon, Leona Conlon and Caoimhe Kennedy after shopping in Penneys on Monday

After over four months of closure, ‘non-essential’ retailers are to swing open their doors once again on Monday morning.

Businesses have been pushed to the brink by the prolonged closure to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and retailers and customers alike are champing at the bit for retail to reopen.

Businesses have been preparing for what they hope will be their final reopening of the pandemic and we answered some key questions ahead of the reopening.

Will I have to queue to enter stores?

Very likely, yes. Most of Ireland’s retailers have been closed since late December, 137 days to be exact, and demand is likely to be huge in the first week of trading.

Penneys and other retailers that offered click and collect and shopping by appointment saw huge demand last week, so if you’re shopping on Monday, wearing comfortable shoes is likely good advice.

There were reports of people even attempting to sell Penneys appointment slots online last week, so demand for shopping will be at fever pitch.

Many people are also now protected by vaccination in comparison to previous reopenings, which should bolster their confidence to enter somewhat crowded spaces again.

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Linda Melly, Lilly May Farrell and Vinna Rolston happy at Penneys, Sligo on Monday, the store operating appointment only shopping ahead of its full re-opening on Monday next

Linda Melly, Lilly May Farrell and Vinna Rolston happy at Penneys, Sligo on Monday, the store operating appointment only shopping ahead of its full re-opening on Monday next

Linda Melly, Lilly May Farrell and Vinna Rolston happy at Penneys, Sligo on Monday, the store operating appointment only shopping ahead of its full re-opening on Monday next

Do I need to make an appointment?

For the vast majority of stores, no. Many retailers offered click and collect services and shopping by appointment from last Monday, but Monday’s reopening is seen as the return to some strain of shopping normality.

Public health and social distancing measures will still be in place and numbers in shops will be limited, but appointments to buy underwear can be a thing of the past.

Dundrum Town Centre will also launch a footfall counter online, so people can see how many people there are at any one time in the centre. This can be used to gauge crowds for social distancing purposes and to perhaps avoid peak shopping hours.

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Can I still do click and collect shopping?

Many stores will still offer click and collect services in parallel to their full reopening. Marks & Spencer and Ikea are among many retailers that will offer click and collect in their Irish stores alongside in-person browsing.

Some retailers will prefer this option as opposed to facing queues in-store but for many, the thrill of in-person shopping will be a motivating factor.

Will there be sales?

There won’t be widespread, concerted sales. Some stores will have individual offers but after being closed for over four months due to extremely stringent public health measures, retailers - especially small and medium-sized ones - need profit margins.

Demand is likely to be high, regardless of whether there are sales or not due to consumers being locked out for so long, so businesses that have been devastated during the pandemic will likely keep prices at regular levels to maximise much-needed profit.

Will there be extended opening hours?

In many stores, yes. This may be confined to larger, chain stores with large staff complements, though.

Penneys have confirmed that their stores will have extended opening hours to facilitate shoppers. This will also aim to spread out the likely huge numbers that will attend their stores this coming week. The retailer saw 250,000 appointments booked last week for their shopping by appointment system.

Many other retailers that can, are expected to announce extended opening hours in the coming days. Some smaller retailers will not be able to afford recruiting staff to extend opening hours.

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