LIVE Covid-19 Ireland cases today update as spike feared and NPHET break silence

Mary Lou hammers Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over ‘clothes’ fiasco By Paul Moore With numerous supermarkets and stores in Ireland restric...

Mary Lou hammers Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over ‘clothes’ fiasco

By Paul Moore

With numerous supermarkets and stores in Ireland restricting the items that they’re allowed to sell due to Level 5 restrictions, the decision to force all non-essential retail outlets and shops to close has received criticism.

At present, only stores selling essential items, such as food and medicine, can stay open.

As for non-essential retailers – homeware shops, clothes shops, toy shops etc – they can only stay open if they offer online delivery or ‘click/phone and collect’ services.

However, if a retailer offers a mix of essential and non-essential goods for sale, the business is required to “make arrangements for the separation” of the non-essential section.

This explains why some supermarkets have certain sections of their stores cordoned off and during a recent interview with RTÉ, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar was clear on the matter.

“[Retailers] need to abide by regulations and you need to abide by the spirit of the regulations. If you are a mixed retailer, you should separate your stock and only sell items that are essential.

“If you are a supermarket or a big store that has groceries and clothes, you should separate off the clothes and not sell them.

“Workwear is ok but general clothing [is] not. We have been in touch with the Gardai and that will be enforced. If [shops] are selling PPE that is one thing.

“But if they’re trying to use PPE in order to sell other products, that is a very different thing. If you’re selling essential products that is one thing.

“If you are trying to use essential products as a means of opening your store to sell non-essential products, that is not ok. That is not lawful and we will bring an enforcement action,” said Minister Varadkar.

Since the new Level 5 rules were introduced, various retailers have removed clothing items from their stores but Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the government’s decision to not define clothes as an essential item in the Level 5 regulations.

“Clothes are essential. Common sense is also essential, though in short supply in FF/FG government,” she said on Twitter.

The issue was discussed recently on Primetime where the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Damien English, confirmed that clothes are “not essential” purchases during Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions.

Minister English acknowledged that despite there being a list for essential and non-essential retail during Level 5, it is difficult for a mixed-retail outlet that “is a bit of both” but noted that the rules were “not confusing” and were clear.

“Clothes are not essential. But again, of course in all situations, there’s a bit of common sense. The Gardaí are reinforcing the public health message, they’re helping us to do our job, they’re engaging with the retail sector, encouraging them to do the right thing. To be fair, I recognise that the retail sector is doing [its] best to get it right and if changes are needed there’ll be changes made.” said Minister English to host Miriam O’Callaghan.

At this point, O’Callaghan pointed out the oddity to Minister English that people can buy wine at a supermarket but not socks for their children, to which he replied: “socks come under clothes Miriam.”

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Newsrust: LIVE Covid-19 Ireland cases today update as spike feared and NPHET break silence
LIVE Covid-19 Ireland cases today update as spike feared and NPHET break silence
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