Shops in Ireland could be allowed to open as late as they want in bid to boost Christmas shopping
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Shops in Ireland could be allowed to open as late as they want in bid to boost Christmas shopping

THE IRISH Government is considering a proposal which would allow high-street shops to stay open as long as they like leading up to Christmas.

The idea is that it would boost Christmas shopping and allow the retail sector, which has badly hit by the pandemic, more opportunity to get back on its feet.

Retailers around the country have been pushing for later opening hours once lockdown ends, not simply to allow more shoppers in, but to spread customers out across the day so they can socially distance, and aren't forced to cram in alongside each other during the traditional Christmas rush.

It's understood that the Government is currently considering a plan that will allow for later opening hours, with rumours swirling that they may even let shops stay open for as long as they like.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Minister of State for Retail Businesses Damien English said he is working with local authorities and other State agencies to ensure retailers can safely meet the demand of shoppers during the Christmas weeks.

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"Many retailers say they will need longer hours, and we will consider this in the context of our plans for December," Minister English said.

"Retailers engaging with the Retail Forum have so far asked for longer hours but not specifically 24-hour opening, although that has happened in the past," he added.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but the plan may include local authority staff stepping in to monitor queues and ensure customers are adhering to social distancing rules.