COVID-19 Retail Protection and Improvement Guide

At the Retail Forum meeting on Wednesday 21 October 2020, in relation to COVID-19 and the Level 5 restrictions, we were asked to write to members of the Forum regarding some clarifications made at the meeting.

In the first instance, our strongest advice to retailers is to please consult which clearly sets out the rules and restrictions in relation to Level 5 of the Living with COVID-19 Plan.

We would also encourage retailers to also review the NSAI COVID-19 Retail Protection and Improvement Guide:

Among other guidance this guide provides information on collection practices (section and contactless payments (section 3.6.2).


Essential Retail

The restrictions are in place for 6 weeks (to 1st December) and subject to satisfactory improvement in the epidemiological situation, and the ambition is we will go back to level 3 and retail may reopen again.

However, this all depends on everyone following the spirit of these new rules and working together.

We are asking retailers to fully get behind the spirit of the regulations. Retailers with mixed retail offering which have discrete spaces for essential and non-essential retail should
make arrangements for the separation of relevant areas.

Retailers are asked to operate staggered opening and closing hours, as well as facilitating starting and finishing hours, in order to minimise the impact on public transport.


Non-Essential Retail

Further to queries received, the following are a (non-exhaustive) list of retail stores which are considered non-essential and are not to open in Level 5 but can operate collection and delivery while adhering to the Public Health Guidelines.

  1. Garden Centres
  2. Bookstores
  3. Furniture stores
  4. Kitchen equipment
  5. Fashion
  6. Shoe Shops
  7. Educational Supply Stores (art materials and books)


The following retail outlets are also considered non-essential but with exemptions

  • Flooring and Carpet Stores

Are closed to the public but can offer collection and delivery and fitting where social distancing is possible per construction workplace guidelines

  • Office Supply Stores are closed to the public but can offer collection and delivery

To note:

Only clothing or shoe stores where PPE is the principal business can open.


The following exemptions relate to travel to and from retail outlets:

  • Business owners who need to check on closed business premises may access their premises outside of the 5km restriction.
  • People who live more than 5km from an essential retail outlet.

To note:

Remote working is the recommendation of government and only essential workers can travel outside of the 5km radius.

Employees working in non-essential retail outlets offering click and collect can only travel to and from work outside of a 5km radius where it necessary to fulfil orders. Ordering and other administrative functions should be undertaken