A city centre clothing store is planning to open its doors this weekend in protest of lockdown restrictions on retail business.
Lanidor, on Eyre Street, is owned by Caroline McCarthy, and stocks a Portuguese brand of ladies clothing.
Ms McCarthy says she is opening her store at 1pm this Saturday to highlight how small and large retailers are being treated unequally.
“It’s a point of principle. I have been closed for almost a year now and during this time I have seen that the larger retailers are open, and openly selling clothing which has been deemed non-essential.
“I accept the lockdown as a matter of public safety, but it’s not a level playing field. These large retailers are openly selling clothing and they are allowed to do so, while we have the doors closed,” she said.
Several lockdowns have kept Lanidor closed for almost a year in total. Like many small retailers, Ms McCarthy has tried to move her business online, to limited success.
“I have a shop full of stock that I would love to be able to sell but I can’t, because I’m not allowed to open my doors. We have done some business online, but our business model is dependent on footfall. We need footfall, we need to have the doors open, that’s how our business operates.
“Lockdown has been devastating on our business, and I know there are lots of other small businesses in the same situation throughout the country” she said.
Under current Level 5 restrictions, Lanidor is considered a non-essential retailer, and is not permitted to open. Ms McCarthy expects to be visited by Gardaí when she breaches lockdown rules this weekend.
“I’m sure the Gardaí will pay us a visit, but I will be asking why 50 metres down the street a retailer is allowed to open and sell clothes, and why on the other side of me a large retailer is open and selling clothing too? Why should I be targeted? Really it’s very unfair.
“We’ve had phenomenal feedback from all over the country, from the public and from small retailers saying it’s ridiculous what’s going on. It’s farcical at this point,” she said.
Cabinet Ministers, NPHET and the Cabinet COVID-19 Subcommittee are all meeting this week to discuss possible reopening timelines for the summer months.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will give an address to the nation on Thursday about plans for easing of restrictions, but small retailers like Ms McCarthy are not hopeful.
“The frustration level is extremely high at the moment. The announcement we’re expecting on Thursday is not going to tell us we can open, the most we can hope for there is click and collect. That’s not going to sustain our business, we need to be open we need to be trading,” she said.