Vaccinations have brought optimism for Laois businesses reopening after a third lockdown this week and next, but they need continued support says Laois Chamber of Commerce.
The CEO Bernie Everard said that businesses are more optimistic that this will be the last reopening after a Covid-19 lockdown.
“There is more certainty now, it is a difference landscape now that the most vulnerable agegroups are vaccinated. We are cautiously optimistic. Customers are more confident,” she told the Leinster Express.
She said that the Government's commercial rates waiver must continue to support traders.
“The hardest hit are retail and hospitality. They will have challenges reopening, to find staff and convince them to come off PUP payments. Some left and went to London when that opened back up first,” she said.
"Chambers Ireland has been lobbying for supports not to be pulled from those sectors, to have a plan in place for the rest of 2021, so that business can reopen and stay open.
"Businesses have been very creative and inventful, with initiatives like click and collect. Who'd have thought that Penneys would have a booking system, everyone is really thinking outside the box.
"We want to ensure that people buy into outdoor eating for summer, including local government, the business community and customers," she said.
As to whether some businesses have shut down, Ms Everard said most are reopening.
"There are new coffee shops opening in Portlaoise in premises where businesses had closed, the queue outside the Wandering Elk is crazy. There are all these positives to take.
“We will continue to support businesses and I wish them all the best of luck,” the Laois Chamber CEO said.
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