The Republic of Ireland has allowed non-essential retail to reopen for the first time since December of 2020. Last week, the government eased COVID-19 restrictions such as reopening of shopping centers and of personal services such as hairdressers. To accommodate the likely demand, the big chains in the country are planning to offer late opening hours. Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Leo Varadkar urged the citizens to shop for local products while still following COVID-19 safety protocols. “The very best of luck to all those opening their doors for the first time in a long time today. Let’s stay safe & keep them open. Remember to try #Shoplocal if you can,” Varadkar said in a tweet. Hotels, hostels, and self-caterings will reopen in the country from June 2, and from June 7, restaurants, bars, gyms, and leisure centers will follow under the Irish government’s roadmap.

Ireland’s industry body, Retail Excellence, told the media that the reopening has become possible due to the government’s effective vaccine rollout. The Irish government assured the industry that it will not be “going backwards” after this week’s reopening. Damien English, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Employment, and Retail, said that it had been a “long road” for businesses to reopen after more than five months. “We must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID,” English said. “Public health and safety must always be paramount but with caution and by working together we can once again enjoy the old normality,” he added. But while physical shops and establishments return to business, non-essential overseas travel will not resume until August this year at the earliest, according to the Irish Prime Minister.