Dublin shoppers urged to wait until 10.30am to allow commuters travel first

Public transport to operate at 20% capacity as retail begins to reopen

 Gardaí on duty on O’Connell Street, Dublin, checking passengers on Dublin Bus during Covid-19 lockdown in May. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Gardaí on duty on O’Connell Street, Dublin, checking passengers on Dublin Bus during Covid-19 lockdown in May. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

People are being urged to wait until after 10.30am before entering Dublin City Centre for retail purposes to ensure public transport is available for essential workers at peak times.

As the country begins to reopen on Monday, a new campaign led by Dublin City Council is encouraging individuals to plan their journeys in advance, cycle or walk where possible and to practise social distancing at all times.

Public transport will operate at 20 per cent capacity to allow for social distancing to be in place.

Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority, said public transport should only be used by essential workers or for people making essential journeys.

“In particular, only those who absolutely have to travel at peak times on public transport, should do so,” she added.

Richard Guiney, chief executive of Dublin Town, said a collective effort is crucially important for the successful reopening of the city.

“Two-thirds of Dubliners, when they come to Dublin City to spend money, they use public transport. For obvious reasons, that capacity is just not going to be available for the next period of time,” Mr Guiney said.

“In terms of coming into Dublin city, to maintain that social distancing and also the safety they want, if they could come in post-10.30am that makes a big difference.”

A Dublin Bus, marked for socially distanced seating. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
A Dublin Bus, marked for socially distanced seating. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, has encouraged people “not to all rush in together” as only 25 per cent of shops and businesses are going to be reopened.

“My message to all Dubliners is that we are looking forward to welcoming you back into the heart of the city from Monday, but please remember that we are easing open,” Mr Brabazon said.

Shops are also preparing to reopen from Monday, with hand sanitiser present at the doors and decals on the floor to mark out social distancing.

A challenge

Ken Costigan, the owner of The Great Outdoors shop on South Great George’s Street in Dublin, said he and his team are excited to reopen and have undergone training days to ensure it can be as safe as possible for shoppers.

“We’ve had some really good training ... we’ve had to remove a lot of stock, we’ve removed stands, we’ve relaid it out, we put arrows on the floor to try and direct people,” Mr Costigan said.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us because a lot of stuff is different. We’re going to start off with about 10 or 12 customers at a time. We want people to feel very, very comfortable.”

Mr Costigan acknowledged that operating at reduced capacity due to social distancing created concerns about profitability but added that “it still costs money for any business to be closed”.

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