Newry Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the re-opening of businesses in Newry.
On the day that many retailers open for business after being closed for over two months, Newry Chamber President Emma Marmion-Mullen paid tribute to the resilience of the local business community.
Welcoming the opening of businesses, the President said: “Today is the first important step on the road to reopening our local economy. It has been a challenging time for local businesses, but we now can slowly begin rebuilding confidence in our local economy.
“The NI Executive’s decision to open all retail from tomorrow and to reopen the housing market is a welcome boost for businesses in the area. We look forward to further relaxation of the restrictions when it is safe to do so, particularly for the hospitality sector.
“We would not be where we are today without the efforts of those who have worked through the COVID 19 emergency. On behalf of the business community I would like to thank those working in our hospitals and care homes, our essential services, the many volunteers and community workers looking after those in need and, of course, those working hard to produce food for our tables and the shops that remained open to ensure we didn’t go short on essentials.
“The road to recovery will be challenging.
“The financial support measures from the UK Government and the Executive have helped businesses to survive and keep people in employment. Equally our businesses have been innovative in how they responded to the challenge of COVID 19.
“As a business community, what we need now is a stimulus package from the NI Executive which will include investment in our Infrastructure, the improvement of our digital network, support for innovation and R&D, a skills agenda which maximises the talent of our young people and support for our businesses to access new markets.”
Following Economy Minister Diane Dodds announcement, the Buttercrane Centre expects to see the phased reopening of non-essential retailers over the next ten days.
Peter Murray Centre Manager said: “Stores are responding as quickly as possible to this afternoon’s news and are working behind the scenes on staff training, deep cleaning and putting the final touches to adapting store layouts for reopening.
“We would anticipate that from Monday 15th June, the number of non-essential retailers open will increase on a daily basis and add to the list of trading stores. Please appreciate this is a very fluid situation and we will endeavour to update customers as soon as more stores are added to the ‘now open’ list.
“At this stage it’s important to note that, we have no known dates from the centre’s large anchor tenants Primark or Dunnes Stores to reopen – given that they have hundreds of staff returning to work – all of whom are subject to pre start protocols.
“They are working swiftly to be able to welcome customers and staff in a safe way. We appreciate your patience over the entire Lockdown period and we look forward to welcoming you back to Buttercrane, here in the heart of Newry City.”