Many shops have had to stop selling “non-essential” products or are completely closed, while others are still displaying their regular products.
As the country moved to the Level 5 lockdown, the government released a list of essential retail outlets. This does not seem to include clothing, as Damien English, the Minister of Retail, expanded during a TV talk show: “Clothing is not mandatory.”
A rather controversial statement, but most major clothing stores are still closed. Even mixed retailers such as Tesco and Dunnas split their products to ensure that “non-essential” items could not be purchased.
I went to the Omni Shopping Center to check if this was the case and was sure that the clothing corridors at Tesco were not open to customers.
“As per the Level 5 government guidelines for non-essential retail, our clothing department is closed,” said a poster near the section. “Selected essential items are still available.”
In the best print, it is made clear that the special items that are considered essential are: socks, underwear, school clothes, selected baby clothes. While this is definitely better than one, for some this list may still be too short. In the large shopping center, it was still a treasure, considering the shutters of all the nearby clothing stores were down.
What seemed a little strange to me was how I was able to walk to the nearest deals and buy a jumper without any problems.
As far as I can tell, no particular category seems to be visually closed, and there are still a wide variety of pieces to buy: sweaters, beanies, trousers, shirts and more.
Some, like Duncan Graham, CEO of Retail Excellence, are concerned that large retailers will continue to sell items they do not need for the LockDown era.
“It adds salt to the wounds of small retailers and they are forced to close, but now big rivals are taking advantage of their closure,” he said.
The Department of Business previously told The Independent that mixed retailers should segregate their stock and sell only essentials. They added that non-essential items can still be sold not only in the store, but also through call-collect, click-collect or delivery.
Regardless, I was able to walk away from the deals with a few Halloween and Christmas nick-tongues. I’m not sure if I really want a big, red, plastic deer, but now I can say I’m the proud owner of one.
Ultimately these new rules seem to have created a lot of confusion and competition for stores across the country because they are trying to navigate and feel unnecessary.
Arnold Dillon, director of retail Ireland, said the closure of several stores was “disappointing”.
“Only a small portion of the Covid transmission is connected to retail settings,” he said. “Restrictions on retail sales this time around are lower than at the beginning of the year, but it’s even more confusing.”
It is not true that many retailers continue to sell a wide variety of products, but it is difficult to come up with a reasonable list of so-called “essential” products.
“Ultimately, the solution is to open all retail stores as quickly as possible while protecting the safety of customers and staff at the same time,” Dillon said.
In the meantime, it seems that these discussions about what is allowed are set to continue.
Aldi and Liddle recently announced that they would no longer be selling unwanted items in their popular ‘middle corridors’.
I visited the lid itself and found that the corridor was a little different than usual. On their website they have listed items that have been excluded from selling in the store – most of which are various products with a Christmas theme.
On Twitter, someone responded to Liddell’s declaration: “We don’t need essentials, we need sh **, we don’t.”
Lid responded appropriately: “We are no longer connected.” For now, most exciting purchases will have to stay online.
Prone to fits of apathy. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Internet advocate. Avid travel enthusiast. Entrepreneur. Music expert.