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Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade has welcomed the announcement of opening dates for businesses as an important first step on the road to recovery. 

Commenting on the Executive’s announcement, the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer, Colm Shannon said: “Newry Chamber has been calling for the Executive to announce indicative dates for the reopening of retail, hospitality and close contact services. Today’s announcement is the beginning of a return to normality and a welcome boost for our local economy. The combination of close contact services opening on the 23rd April, and non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality on 30th April is good for the city centre.  Hospitality and retail need each other and the experience from last year is that the town centre only starts to fully recover when hospitality businesses are open as well. 

The Quays Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

“It is good that the rest of hospitality has an indicative date of 24th May to plan for. We hope the conditions remain that will allow the Executive to confirm this date.”

Stressing the importance of shopping locally, the CEO said “Our businesses have been closed since before Christmas. They have been an essential part of our community for generations, and it is important that people shop local and support them. Since Christmas they have lost a significant amount of trade. By shopping locally, you are supporting the many people in Newry who depend on these businesses for their livelihood.

“As a business community we have invested heavily in the safety of our staff, our customers, and ensuring our businesses are safe spaces to enjoy the experience of being in our city centre. 

“All our businesses know the importance of opening in a responsible way. They have been tirelessly working to ensure that their businesses can reopen safely. We don’t know how long COVID will be part of our lives, and until then, they will work with the wider community to ensure they remain open and that everyone can enjoy the experience of being back in our city centre.”

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