Letterkenny is gradually getting back to business and the coming weeks will see the town returning to a greater sense of normality, the chief executive of Letterkenny Chamber has said.
One week on from phase two of the reopening more retail businesses have been opening their doors for the first time since the lockdown. Penneys in the Letterkenny Shopping Centre reopened yesterday to a queue of customers.
Toni Forrester said the first week has been “busy enough” as the town reopens “gradually”.
“It has been gradually reopening, not everywhere is open at the same time and there are staggered opening times in some businesses,” she said.
“It is gradual. It gives everyone a chance to make sure everything they have implemented is working and customers and staff are comfortable.
“The beginning of the week was busy enough but we don’t expect huge crowds of people. People are still nervous enough.”
The reopening of restaurants, cafes and hotels on June 29 will help return a sense of normality to the town, she said.
“That is the missing link. Retail is not just about shopping.
“That will allow people to do retail a bit more like it used to be; they will shop and socialise and we are looking forward to them opening up.”
Some businesses have been slower to return because of the government bringing the reopening date forward, she said.
“They need time to prepare and get people back in.
Toni Forrester: The message to the public is to shop locally and adhere to measures that businesses put in place
“The Letterkenny Shopping Centre fully opens today (Monday) and Penneys returned today and that’s a big move. Other large retailers are opening, slowly but surely. Local businesses are doing all they can to make premises user-friendly and make sure customers and staff feel safe and protected.”
The message to the public is to shop locally and adhere to measures that businesses put in place to protect customers and staff.
“Local businesses employ local people. Everyone has a responsibility during the pandemic and we expect people will adhere to the measures in each business.”
Retail in the town is hoping for a busy week ahead of Father's Day. Letterkenny Chamber is also planning to go ahead with its busking festival at the end of August. Live music will be brought to the streets during July to help bring back an atmosphere.
Ms Forrester said this time next month she expects Letterkenny to have a greater sense of normality.
“We will see where we are then. People are able to move around more and more people will want to be back travelling. We are welcoming people back to Letterkenny who have not been for a while.”
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